Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rappie Pie

Rappie Pie is a French Canadian  an Acacdian dish. The flavor is similar to homemade potato pancakes.

My grandparents were from Digby County NS and were farmers. Back then the ingredients for rappie pie depended on what kind of food you had on hand. My grandparents only had chickens on their farm, so my grandmother’s rappie only had chicken for meat. If you had pigs, your rappie had pork... I've even heard of clam, lobster, or scallop rappie pie. When my mom tried rappie pie at a friend of my dad's a LONG time ago, they made their rappie with pork & chicken. (they must have come from pigs & chickens!) My mom liked that MUCH better and from then on, her rappie was also pork & chicken.

My mom and sister make rappie pie a few times a year. I didn’t really care for Rappie growing up, but out of the blue a few years ago, I asked my mom to make one. I love it now and so does my daughter. So now my mom makes one every time we visit. This is the first one I ever helped to make. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth it!

Mum & Jeannie (sis) also said that it would be really hard for someone to make rappie from just reading a recipe. That you have to help or really watch someone make it. So I bring to you very detailed pictures of the first rappie pie that I ever helped to make. I've never made one by myself. But since my mom gave me an extra juice extractor she had in the attic, I'll probably try some time soon!

This makes a HUGE batch. If you live in MA, you probably know enough French Canadians make this disappear quickly. If you wanted to do a 13x9 sized Rappie Pie, you could probably cut the potatoes to 10 or 15 lbs.... and reduce the meats by half.

Rappie Pie
25 lbs potatoes, peeled (put them into cold water as you peel them)
1 whole chicken 8 lbs
2 lbs pork chops
1 onion
2 lbs Salt pork
6 quarts of water (approx)
Drippings from Thanksgiving Turkey (if you have poultry drippings use them, if not, use water or stock)
4 cans chicken gravy
Salt and pepper

In a large stock pot put drippings, gravy, water, chicken, pork chops, onion, salt & pepper.
Bring to a boil and simmer.
When meat is cooked, remove from pot.
Remove meat from bones… add bones & skin back to pot… continue simmering… it should simmer for an hour or two.
Strain out bones & onion and keep warm. (meat can be cooked ahead of time and stocked reserved if you like)
Bring the stock to a rolling boil when you are just about done prepping the potatoes.
Peel 25 pounds of potatoes.
Place them in a bowl (or sink) of cold water.
Working in small batches, run the potatoes through a juice extractor.
Reserve the potato liquid.
Place the potato pulp in a BIG bowl or pot.
Also, starch will settle to the bottom of the extracted liquid. Add the starch back to the potato pulp.
Continue until all of the potatoes have been juiced.
If doing this by hand, grate potatoes on a grater.
Working in small batches, about one or two cups at a time, using cheesecloth, squeeze all liquid out of grated potatoes and reserve liquid.
The potatoes should be quite dry.
When all potatoes have been grated & squeezed (or run through the juicer) measure the potato liquid, make note of the volume and discard it.
If there is starch at the bottom of the potato liquid container, add it back to the potato pulp.
Cut salt pork into strips and fry to render fat.
Remove strips of pork (you can snack on this salty crispy meat if you like… we just need the rendered fat)
Back to the potato pulp… using a big spoon slowly stir in the same amount of boiling chicken stock as the liquid you removed from the potatoes. (you can add chicken stock if you don't have enough) Add 1 or 2 cups of stock at a time.
When you have about half of the stock added to the potatoes, stir in the rendered salt pork fat… and continue stirring in hot stock, be sure it is very well mixed and there are no potato pulp lumps.
Mixture will be thick… if you stand the spoon in the center of the pot, it should slightly lean over.
Butter and flour a 12x16x2 pan, 8x8 pan and 13x9 pan (this makes a BIG batch, but all of the French Canadians Acadians you know will want to come over for dinner!)
Pour half potato mixture into pans
Sprinkle entire surface of potatoes with salt & pepper
Cover evenly with chicken and pork
Top with remaining potato mixture
Preheat oven to 450.
Bake 2 hours or until top has a crispy golden crust.
Serving suggestions: top slices of rappie pie with butter and salt and pepper (this is what our family does), chicken gravy, cranberry sauce, maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, whatever you like.

With no further adieu... Rappie Pie!

Chicken & pork

These just go into a big pot filled with turkey dripping (if you have them) if not water or stock.

Add onion (I'd probably add a little more onion and make a couple of celery stalks too)

Oh and here's a tip... put the meat in the pot BEFORE the turkey drippings!! I didn't, and splashed it all over my shirt & hoodie & jeans... I was NOT a happy camper!

Just let your meat cook on the stove.

Now we have potatoes to peel!

There's still more

And more

Now if you're using a juicer, which I HOPE you are... cuz I can't even imagine grating and wringing the water out of 25 lbs of potatoes.... if you are using a juicer, cut the potatoes into pieces that will fit in your juicer.

Jeannie's adding chicken gravy, you probably could have done this at the beginning. Jeannie and her friend Carole added gravy one time when they were making Rappie and had no bouillon. Now they use it all the time.

Now take your salt pork

And cut it into slices and fry it up. (you only want the rendered fat... you can enjoy an extremely salty snack later if you like salt pork)

Now you will need a very large pot for the potato pulp and a very large pot for the potato liquid and your juicer.
Here's mum's juicer.

Start feeding the potatoes into your juicer.

The potato liquid drips into the bottom of the juicer.

It's full now. (I like that mum's juicer is made of all clear parts)

Remove the potato pulp from the juicer to your large pot.

After a few batches in the juicer... the potato pulp doesn't look very pretty!

Pour the potato water into a separate large pot.

There will be starch in the bottom of the liquid container. Scrape that out and add it back to the potato pulp. (I tried being neat and using a spatula. Don't waste your time dirtying a utensil that won't work, just use your hands!)

Continue until you have processed all of the potatoes.

The liquid pot we chose was completely filled. I'm scooping out foam and tossing it away.

You now need to measure the volume of potato liquid and make note of it. My sister knows how much this pot holds, so that was much easier than trying to measure it all out. Now you can throw away this liquid.
When you dump out the potato liquid, if there is starch in the bottom of the pot, add that back to the potatoes.

The white stuff on top is the rest of the starch... the pink looking stuff under it is the potato pulp. Mix it all up.

Remove your cooked meat from the stock/drippings and set aside to shred.

An easy way to measure your stock to be the same as the potato liquid, is to pour it into the container that you used for the potato liquid. If you cooked your meat the day before, this is easier, because you can work with cooler liquid. If you're working with hot liquid, be very careful. We put it into the sink to avoid spilling it.

The potato liquid was just about to the rim, but it was also sitting on almost an inch of starch. We still need to add more stock to reach the volume of liquid that we removed from the potatoes.

That's about right.

Now bring it to a rapid boil on the stove. We put it back in a bigger pot, because we're going to have to add all this stock back to the potato pulp a little at a time. It's much easier to handle a pot that isn't filled to the rim with boiling stock. =)

We put the potato pulp on a chair, since it is much easier to add the boiling stock at that level than trying to do it on the counter.

Add the stock a little at a time. You must stir the potatoes really well after each addition of stock so you don't end up with dry potato lumps.

When you have about half the volume of stock added back to the potatoes, add the fat rendered from the salt pork.

Now finish adding the remainder of the stock, a little at a time.

According to Mum & Jeannie, the spoon should kind of stand up and lean slightly. But after you've made this a few times, you can decide what consistency you like best.

Grease & flour your pan (or pans)

Pour in about an inch of potato mixture (or a little less than half fill the pan)

Give the potatoes a nice even sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Now put a good even layer of shredded chicken & pork on top of the potatoes.

Don't be shy with the meat... sometimes it seems to disappear during baking if you don't have enough in it.

Now top the meat with more potato mixture.

The oven is ready!

Bake for 2 hours on 450F or until crust is crispy and golden brown.

Oh yeah! This one came out perfect!! Crispy top crust, nice bottom crust!

Uncle Bert likes mustard on his.

Auntie Louie likes ketchup.

Butter for most, I think all of my immediate family.

Peel back the crust (the BEST part!!)

Add some butter

And salt & pepper


Whew!!! I'm drooling typing this up!!!!

Saving the best for last... butter the inside of the crust.

A perfect crust you can roll and eat up!

Now for the bottom crust...

MAN!! That was WICKED GOOD!!!!!

I hope that counts as making Rappie Pie with me!


Bob said...

Oh wow.... wow. Wow. That is one of the most complicated dishes I have ever seen. And I want some SO BAD! I've never even heard of it before. I might just have to try making it myself though, if I can figure out some way to scale it down a lot. :)

Brownieskid said...

To scale this down use 2 chicken breasts and 3 porkchops for 5 pounds of potato - this will be enough for a 9X13 pan (the rectangular brownie pan). Use about 1/2 cup of grease from salt pork. Also most Canadiens will not know what this is. It is specific to "Down East" Nova Scotia.

Spryte said...

Thanks Jeannie!!

Anonymous said...

OMG Thank you soooo much. My husbands family is from Yarmouth NS. We here in MA. love this dish but can only get when relatives bring back to the states the bricks of D'Eons prepared Mix. I cannot imagine grating all those potatos However juicing or maybe food processing? will work I am so going to make this know that I have the play-by-play receipe.

Spryte said...

Yay!! Good luck Kathy!!!

Anonymous said...

The best little meal EVER! Looks like the secret is out, eh?

Cheffie said...

Hello, and how great to find someone who not only appreciates, but also makes. Surprised my mother hasn't commented on since she is the one who linked it. Her grandmother's family were from NS and we grew up in CT eating through her mother and now we make with all of our kids at least 5-6 times a year.

A little different spin that we do is add strips of raw bacon on top as the pie is cooking, and my mother and her sister, when they were in NS a few backs noticed they had placed salted green onions in also. So we have a new additive that has only enhanced.

Not sure about your family...but the corner pieces are the most sought over, as is having a nice piece left over for the next day...which takes a strong will.

Spryte said...

The corners are always a favorite!!

Anonymous said...

Not bad. Not as good as the way my folks made rappie pie though. You don't need the pork really; you can just put some butter on top - would be healthier. My folks would finely grate the potatoes by hand and the potatoes don't come out so mushy that way - more firm when you bake it.
Thanks though - brings back memories.

Gord from Ontario (my Dad was from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia)

Anonymous said...

I'm from Digby,NS but currently live in Halifax. I always eat my mom's rapure but need to learn to cook it on my own and was looking for other variations on how people made it. So thanks for the recipe (although I'll be using already pre-grated potatoes )

Anonymous said...

Um, just to clarify, it's not French-Canadian at all, it's Acadian. We make ours a bit differently, but still well worth the process. My parents are from the Weymouth, NS area.