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discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

Rappie pie

Six generous servings.

 This imaginative mixture of seasoned pork and potato is not much of a pie at all, but do not be deterred. It is another of Arnaud Michaud’s survival foods and another good one. Rappie pie is the ‘national’ dish of Acadians in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and, according to A Taste of Acadie by Marielle Cormier-Boudreau and Melvin Gallant, was still served on holidays and at other family gatherings as a matter of course at least as late as the end of the twentieth century.

 


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-8 or 9 big peeled and grated potatoes
-2 Tablespoons lard or neutral oil
-2 lb pork shoulder cut into ½ inch chunks
-2 onions sliced into thin crescents
-2 or 3 cooked and mashed potatoes
-2 beaten eggs
-1 Tablespoon salt
-pepper
-about 2 teaspoons dried savory or a heaped Tablespoon fresh if you can get it
-1 teaspoon ground coriander
-¼ lb thinly sliced pork fat
½ lb diced salt pork fried until golden

 


 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1. Put the grated potatoes in a dishcloth or other cotton cloth and wring it to squeeze as much liquid from the potatoes as you can.
  2. Melt the lard or heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat and fry the pork shoulder until it colors, then add the onions and keep cooking until they turn golden.
  3. Fold together the grated potatoes, pork shoulder, onions, mashed potatoes, eggs, salt, pepper, savory and coriander.
  4. Line the bottom of an 8 by 15 inch oven dish with the sliced pork fat, top it with an even layer of the pork and potato mixture and strew the salt pork dice over the ‘pie.’
  5. Bake the pie for about 2 hours; the top of the filling under the salt pork should have turned golden. If not, flash the pie under the broiler for a moment to do the job.

Notes:

- Among other names, rappie pie also is called rapaille, rapure, pate a la rapure, pate rape and chiard. The derivation is the French word for grated. “rapée”.

- The britishfoodinamerica recipe is derived from the one in A Taste of Acadie. We have added the lard or cooking oil for frying the pork shoulder and reduced the amount of potatoes by about a third. For something more authentically frugal, use more of them.

- Some Acadian cooks make rappie pie with chicken, either instead of or addition to the pork shoulder. Experiment, or simply use what you have got. Cut the chicken from the bone and treat it as you would the pork.

- Cormier-Boudreau and Gallant also identify a recipe that looks like… a pie, in which the grated and squeezed potato is used to make both bottom and topcrusts. This version of rappie pie uses a filling of chicken, hare, mussels or clams seasoned, of course, with salt pork. If you use chicken, or hare for that matter if you can find one, cut the respective animal into pieces and simmer it with the onions until barely tender, then cut chunks from the bone. Moisten the grated potatoes with just enough boiling stock from the meat to form a sort of dough. Mix half of it with ¼ lb of fried diced salt pork and put it into a pie dish, top it with the meat and onion mixture generously seasoned with salt and pepper, top that with the remaining potato and then line it with another ¼ lb of salt pork into thin strips and bake the pie until it looks like hash browns, usually for about 1½ hours.

- Clams or mussels need not be precooked; mix them with the onions fried alone.