The information about Acadian foods is limited. There’s no official writing about this cuisine or the Acadian recipes until the book “Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering” by Simon Thibault is published in 2017. It’s time to acknowledge this wonderful gastronomy!
You can look for the book for detailed information about the Acadians’ eating customs. However, you might need a shortcut before getting into the long journey of discovering their cuisine. Therefore, this article is just right for what you need!
Who Are The Acadians And What’s So Special About Their Cuisine?
Before getting to the delicious dishes of Acadia, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, while most Americans think of Acadia as a national park in Maine, it’s also an actual historical region.
Second, you shouldn’t mistake Acadian regions with Arcadia county in Florida. Indeed, Acadia has a long historical story, but for a brief look, this term indicates a New French colony during the 17th and 18th centuries.
This region is now known as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island in Canada. However, there’s also a large group of Acadians who have settled in southern Louisiana, which is the Acadiana region nowadays. Some of them also end up in Maine.
For further enlightenment, the Acadian descendants in the United States are the Cajuns, but you can not assume the other way around. The reason is the Americans use the term Cajuns for anyone from southern Louisiana, regardless of their ancestors.
From here, you can tell that this French-origin gastronomy shares numerous dishes with Canadian, Louisianian, and Cajun cuisines. It’s also somewhat similar to Quebecois cuisine due to the relevance of history, heritage, and geographical proximity.
Generically, Acadian gastronomy uses various ingredients: fruits, vegetables, cattle, and dairy. But many specialties from Acadia are also famous for using seafood and potatoes. Many believe they have normalized the use of this vegetable in France.
In the old days, the Acadians had a habit of hunting and regularly consumed their game, such as deer, jackrabbit, or ruffed goose. They even consider it a precious gift; some regions still maintain those cultures today.
Now, let’s skip the talking and get into the detailed information about this superb cuisine.
Acadian Appetizing Appetizers You’ll Fall In Love With
Equivalent to French cuisine, the Acadians’ meals also involve 3 courses, from appetizer, main course to dessert. Though you may find the dishes below in Acadian restaurants as starter courses, you can always re-create them for a light meal.
1. Poutine Râpée – Potato Dumpling
Poutine Rapee is a traditional Acadian dish that is now mostly available in New Brunswick and perhaps other Acadian regions in Canada. Basically, the folks make this dumpling from both grated and mashed potatoes.
They usually stuff the dumplings with salted pork. Some recipes even require hours of boiling the dumplings on their own. Due to the long cooking process, the Acadians often only prepare it for special occasions, such as Christmas.
The dumplings have a grayish appearance with a bland flavor contrasting to the salty filling. When serving, folks will either sprinkle some peppers on Poutine Rapee or glaze it with molasses. Some effortless cooks may only use white or brown sugar for topping.
Learn how to make the mesmerizing Poutine Rapee for a quick packed meal.
2. Crêpes Râpées – Potato Pancakes
Crepes Rapees is among the traditional morning dishes in Acadia. Indeed, pancakes are a convenient dish you can always enjoy as a course starter, breakfast, or a light meal. Moreover, these treats make a great pair with almost anything from fruit to dairy.
As mentioned above, the Acadians use potatoes abundantly in their diet, and this is one of those staples. They make Crepes Rapees out of grated potatoes and mix it with flour, egg, onion, and pepper before pan-frying the mixture into something crispy.
3. Fricot – Chicken Stew
Though Fricot and the famous French Fricassee are relevant in both cooking methods and pronunciation, there is no proof of their relation. However, it also stems from France and eventually became a staple of the Acadians in Canadian gastronomy.
Traditionally, the Acadians prepare Fricot with potatoes, carrots, onions, regional herbs, and old chicken. Due to the lack of supplies in the old days, they considered the chickens that could still lay eggs too valuable for this stew.
Fricot also has dumplings to form a satisfying lunch that all Acadians love. Though some modern methods may only call for wheat flour dumplings, you can use Poutine Rapee for the authentic experience.
A meatless variation was also created during the lean time, and they call it “Fricot a la belette”, meaning “weasel stew”. It somewhat compliments the cooks who are as sly as a weasel to leave the precious meat ingredients out.
In contrast, the Acadians in Pince Edward Island call this meatless stew “fricot a la bazette”, which means “stupid cook’s stew”, indicating the forgo of meat. In some regions, you can also see Fricot made from game animals.
See how to bring a hearty and rustic Fricot to your dinner table.
5 Mesmerizing Main Courses From Acadian Cuisine
The main dishes of Acadian are famous as comfort foods. The main taste is usually mild and creamy. Potatoes are almost never absent from these traditional delicacies.
4. Croquettes De Poisson – Fish Cake
Croquettes or Boulettes de Poisson basically are fish cakes. Since the Acadian regions in Canada have a long coastline, the folks also regularly add fish into their diet. For the fish cakes, they usually use cod, either slated or fresh.
It’s also a classic dish in Acadian cuisine, and once again, they also use mashed potatoes in the mixture. Onions, peppers, and parsley are optional for Croquettes De Poisson. The Acadians normally fry this delicacy in oil, but some regions may also use pork back fat.
Like most other fish cake variations you can find worldwide, Croquettes De Poisson usually comes in uneven round shapes. This dish also makes a great pair with tomato sauce.
5. Râpure – Rappie Pie
The name of this dish is either derives from “pâte à la râpure” or “patates râpées”. Both of those French phrases relatively mean “grated potatoes”, indicating the central ingredient of this pie.
Folks also believe that the German or the Swiss have taught the Acadians this cooking technique. On the other hand, the rest of the world knows of Rapure as a lookalike of casserole that originates in southwest Nova Scotia, Canada.
Originally, they grated the potato and squeezed it until no liquid remained. Afterward, the cooks mixed it with meat, onion, and broth before baking the mixture until golden brown. The most common meat bases for Rapure are chicken, beef, and bar clams.
You won’t regret trying this recipe of the traditional Rapure pie.
6. Cipâte – Sea-Pie
Cipate is a dish from Quebecois cuisine and is also popular among the Acadians. Interestingly, the English name of this delicacy is sea-pie since it’s mostly served for the English sailors, and the filling can either include or exclude seafood.
Basically, the folks prepare Cipate by layering dough and seasoned meat. The meat bases usually are cattle, poultry, seafood, or even game. Modern recipes usually recommend simmering the combination in a pot on low heat.
In addition, the French name of Cipate is “Six-Pâtes”. People believe that it is either derived from the adaptation of the English’s name pronunciation or the 6 times folding of the dough during the cooking process.
7. Tourtière – Acadian Meat Pie
The origin of Tourtiere remains fuzzy nowadays. While many believe the recipe belongs to the French immigrants, the locals in Quebec insist it’s their invention. Despite that, it’s also a culinary staple for the Acadians.
Local folks usually prepare Tourtiere for an ideal evening Acadian meal between Christmas and the New Year celebrations. The meat base for this pie usually is pork, though beef is also a great option. Mashed potatoes are also never absent in this traditional delicacy.
The Acadians combine those central ingredients with regional vegetables, herbs, and spices. Afterward, they cover the combination in a flaky pastry dough before baking it until golden brown. The name of this dish derives from the round mold in which it’s baked.
The Acadians have kept their recipes for generations; check this one for Tourtiere!
8. Pâté Chinois – Shepherd’s Pie
Like Tourtiere, the origin of Pate Chinois remains a mystery. However, an interesting theory states that this dish was an invention of the Chinese during the 19th century when they were in the process of building the Canadian railway.
Hence, the name of this dish in French means “Chinese pie”. It eventually became a staple in both Quebecois and Acadian cuisine. Traditionally, Pate Chinois consists of three layers. The bottom is seasoned meat, usually pork or beef.
The middle layer is corn, and the folks use either whole kernels from the canned corn or creamed one; they also mix them sometimes. As you may have guessed, the irreplaceable ingredient of Acadian foods – mashed potatoes – is the top layer.
Acadian Delicate Desserts For Your Sweet Tooth
Besides mashed potato, molasses is another staple ingredient in Acadian cuisine. Most of their signature desserts consist of this thick and sweet sauce.
9. Ployes – French-Acadian Pancake/Buckwheat Pancake
While many mistake Ployes as pancakes, the Acadians actually just cook this flatbread on one side. Nowadays, it’s a famous Acadian sweet treat or side dish throughout Canada, as well as Maine.
This delectable Canadian dessert first appeared in Nova Scotia. It consists of buckwheat starch, flour, baking powder, and water. Hence it’s an easy recipe that you can create at home. Many Acadian families have their twist to elevate the flavor and handle it down for generations.
The folks use this traditional flatbread either in their breakfast, lunch, or dinner as a side dish. However, they also use it as a dessert, combined with molasses, honey, maple syrup, or cream. The traditional way to enjoy this flatbread is to roll it before consuming it.
You’ll regret missing this information about Ployes and the Acadians in Maine.
10. Pets De Sœur – Acadian Cinnamon Rolls
You can assume Pets de Soeur as a variation of cinnamon rolls but leave out the leavening agents. The remaining ingredients are almost the same, which are cinnamon, milk flaky crust dough, butter, and molasses. It’s a primal dish on Christmas Eve to the Acadians.
The name of this dish in French means “the nun’s fart”. Though it’s actually an invention of the nuns in the Acadian and Quebec regions, the unappetizing name remains unexplained. Nombrils de Soldats or the “Soldier navels” is a variation of Pet de Soeur but without milk.
11. Pouding Chômeur – The Poor Man’s Pudding
Pouding Chomeur is another dish that stems from the Quebecois cuisine but eventually becomes a staple to the Acadians and throughout Canada. Its name literally means “the poor man’s pudding”, and there’s a not-so-delightful story behind this dessert.
It was an invention of the women factory workers during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Due to the lack of finance, they utilized all that was available to form Pouding Chomeur. Basically, they simply combine cake batter with maple syrup and bake the combination.
They either pour over or cover the batter with the syrup. During the worst of the Depression, they even just used white or brown sugar for the sweetening and stale bread for the base.
Everlasting Deliciousness Of Acadian Cuisine!
Even though the colonization didn’t last for too long and ended centuries ago, the Acadians’ blood and delicious recipes may exist perhaps till the end of time.
There are more interesting things about these people that I can’t cover just in one article, but here are some of their most famous dishes that you’ll regret not trying.
It would be best if you acknowledged this cuisine and shared it with your beloved ones. Also, feel free to spread your thoughts or questions about the Acadians and their magnificent gastronomy in the comment section!
Table of Contents
- Who Are The Acadians And What’s So Special About Their Cuisine?
- Acadian Appetizing Appetizers You’ll Fall In Love With
- 5 Mesmerizing Main Courses From Acadian Cuisine
- Acadian Delicate Desserts For Your Sweet Tooth
- Everlasting Deliciousness Of Acadian Cuisine!
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