National Geographic was wrong!!
November 8, 2019 9:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm still considering the potato, and this is a question about Acadian recipes, and salt pork, and potatoes. The internet has a trillion recipes, but some clarification would be helpful.

According to a 1990 article about the Cajuns in National Geographic:
"Today's favorite Acadian dishes are poutine (a doughball containing salt pork) and rappie pie (a casserole of grated potatoes with the starch pressed out). Both are bland enough to put a Cajun palate fast asleep ..."
This is incorrect, right? Poutine is french fries, cottage cheese and gravy, right? Was/is it ever anything else? The internet says that rappie pie is sometimes formed into dough balls, made of potatoes ... right? Are dough balls ever made of anything besides potatoes? Does salt pork ever go into anything besides dough balls? Do you have excellent recipes of salt pork with dough balls (potatoes or otherwise)? There seem to be many sites devoted to Acadian cuisine ... can you recommend a great one?

(Why yes, I do have a bland palate, but love this type of food ...)
posted by Melismata to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Acadian poutine is indeed a doughball containing pork fat. I was served this dish when I was at school in New Brunswick and my roommate's mom asked if I'd like some poutine. Since I'd loved it served the authentic way (chip truck in the Laurentians FTW) I said yes and got...Acadian Poutine. And boiled quahogs.

I don't have an authentic site for you but I definitely have eaten this form of poutine. :)
posted by warriorqueen at 9:47 AM on November 8, 2019

Best answer: The fries and gravy and cheese curds poutine dish you're thinking of is a different thing altogether from poutine râpée, the boiled potato dumpling that the National Geographic was referencing. The fries version has become so popular in recent years that you can find it everywhere now, even in Louisiana, but that's a recent development.
posted by chromium at 9:49 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Huh, Acadian poutine didn't show up on Google searches at all!! Weird.
posted by Melismata at 9:51 AM on November 8, 2019

I have to warn you that as a person who eats nearly everything, with great enthusiasm, rappie pie is one of the only things I've found absolutely disgusting. It was less "dough balls" and more "potatoes boiled into a substance resembling aspic, with chicken suspended in it." It was at a mediocre restaurant on the coast of Nova Scotia. I traveled there for work periodically, and trying rappie pie was basically hazing.

It haunts my dreams. I hope there is a better version in the world, and that you get to enjoy that one.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: So a French Canadian of Acadian descent here... Poutine in Acadian French is said to derive from the English word "pudding." But it also kind of means dumpling (my northern New Brunswick great grandparents used poutine this way but in other parts of French Canada we call those things Grand Pères). Also see Poutine à trou, a dumpling filled with cooked fruit and covered in a caramel sauce. Poutine in this sense predates poutine with fries which was invented in Quebec in the 50s as a cheap filling food you buy from a casse croûte (roadside snack bar). Please don't put cottage cheese on poutine (either kind). Cheese curds and cheese curds only for the version with fries. The gravy is also bit confusing for a lot of people - it is usually a variation of sauce espagnole rather than beef gravy or worse Bisto instant gravy. In French it is usually called brown sauce or simply poutine sauce to differentiate it from actual gravy or the sauce you'd have with your ragoût du boulettes.

Rappie pie is a pie or casserole made of grated potatoes and often chicken. Generally pretty bland but it can vary between regions and families. I've had it with a crust and a without. With gravy or ketchup and without. We didn't eat it often (somebody in my family probably didn't like it) but when we did it was flavoured with summer savoury, which is a pretty common herb on the east coast of Canada and in French Canadian cooking. I think of rappie pie as a distant poverty influenced version of Hachis Parmentier like Pâté chinois. Poutine râpée or the confusing regional term patachoux (either way not "Acadian poutine") is a dumpling made of the same grated potatoes you'd use with rappie pie. Sometimes they are huge, sometimes not. We as a family don't eat those but they are out there. Both are considered comfort foods from those that grew up with them. Regarding salt pork, traditionally it was in everything but now not so much though culturally French Canadians (like many Catholic cultures) eat a lot of pork. In terms of highlights in Acadian cuisine I think fricot is the real star. A stew with dumplings (yep called poutine sometimes). Or maybe the Acadian version of meat pie (tourtière to the other French Canadians).

I can't recommend any blogs but these are the books you're gonna want to get:
A taste of Acadie

Pantry and Palate

The Acadian Kitchen

And there are some Acadian recipes in Out of Old Nova Scotian Kitchens

If you want to explore the wider world of French Canadian food look for these by Mme Benoit:

My grandmother's kitchen

Canadiana Cookbook

If you want to explore the world that the poutine with fries comes from check out this one (in French):
Moutarde Chou
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:24 PM on November 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

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