#43 – Acadian Dinner “Pâté à la Râpure”

My heritage is Acadian. Acadians immigrated to the Maritimes from France in the 1600’s and established an extensive agricultural and pacifist economy. In 1755, when they refused to pledge allegiance to the ruling British, they were deported from their homeland in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island – an area also known as Acadie. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow memorialized the event through a fictional character Evangéline, helping make the expulsion well known.The popular Acadian group, “1755” (now disbanded) from Moncton NB, added to the understanding of Acadians, their cultures and their ways.

Speaking of Evangéline, this is a picture of me representing Evangéline for the Acadian Festival in 1972. The gentleman on the left is a good friend. He was Gabriel.

Evangeline

Acadian Dinner

Plan the menu. Invite friends. Prepare meal. Eat. Be merry.

 Appetizers

Salt Cod Fritters with aioli sauce on a bed of arugula

Meat pie served with molasses and cranberry sauce

Main Dish

Pâté à la Râpure served with molasses and cranberry sauce

Dessert

Blueberry Grunt with dumplings (not cake or crumble)

Pâté à la Râpure is a true Acadian dish. The main ingredient is potatoe.

Quick Step Recipe:

Boil a fowl with onions, salt and pepper. Cool and debone the chicken and cut into reasonable size chunks. Keep the stock. Grate the potatoes and remove all the starch by squeezing potatoes through a cotton bag until you have a very dry, flour-like powder. Slowly replace the amount of starch removed, with boiling stock one cup at a time, stirring constantly. The hot stock will start the baking process and turn potatoes into a gluey off-white mess. In a large deep pan, bake pieces of salted lard to coat the pan. Keep half of the lard pieces for topping. Pour half the potato mixture in the pan and spread all the chicken pieces over top. Top with remaining glue mixture and sprinkle with baked lard pieces. Bake at 350˚F until golden brown, 2 hours or so. Let sit until firm. Et voilà! The râpure is eaten with molasses or cranberry sauce. Appetizing? Some of our friends thought so and I was grateful it didn’t end up in the garbage. I’m also thankful for having my younger sister and her husband help us make it.

PateR

When I was growing up, I remember making râpure with my parents. It seemed we made enough to feed all of the relatives and neighbors. To speed up the process, my father made a special grater to grate the 10lbs+ of potatoes needed. It was a piece of tin about 12 inches by 20 inches attached to two pieces of wood. He hammered nail holes throughout. It looked like a washing board. I wonder where it ended up? My Mother made the bag and it resembled a jelly bag but bigger. It took strong hands to squeeze the starch out.

I want to tell you an earlier adventure about Pâté à la Râpure. My French accent was very prominent in my first year at an English university. I had a roommate whose parents would invite us to dinner on Sundays. They were both doctors and I felt intimidated eating at their home, table so beautifully set.

He knew I was French and asked if I could explain this dish called “Pâté à la Râpure”. “Oh”, I said, “it’s easy, you take potatoes and rape them!” gesturing with my hands how it was done. (Râper in English is to grate). They smiled politely as I continued to explain the dish. “You use de chicken juice and mix into de raped potatoes”, the story went on.

Wanting to carry on conversation on another topic, I asked, “Do you know you can see de “Vierge Marie” in a lobster?” “Really, where?” he said. “Between de testicules” I added. Silence … followed by abrupt laughter. When we left, I was told of my mistake. We did get invited again on many occasions. I loved their food and they loved the company.

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24 thoughts on “#43 – Acadian Dinner “Pâté à la Râpure”

  1. I’ve worn that costume more than a few times in my childhood. I grew up in an Acadian community in Nova Scotia. That outfit was, and still is, the “in thing” for young girls to wear the last week of July. 🙂

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  2. haha! Great post in so many ways. We may try your recipe – pots of boiling chickens and lots of potatoes would fit our Russian inspired kitchen perfectly! I loved your ‘raped potatoes’ anecdote, – I’m sure your friends invited you back many times, just for the conversation! 🙂

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  3. Charline, I need to know from your sister whether your râpure was as good as the one a group of us shared this past summer in Caraquet?!?

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  4. Ah Charline, I can still taste the one I had this Fall in Caraquet with family and friends!! It was so good! It is one of my favourite dish! I love mine with lots of molasses, and so does my husband!

    Wish I could of been there enjoying your “Pate a Rapure” with my two sisters and husband!!

    Your oldest seester!! 🙂

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  5. Hi Charline:
    Love to read your Blogs. This one made me laugh ’cause I can relate so well. I experienced some of the same “language” slips, and of course by doing so, the looks received by the listeners, you knew something was so wrong. I personally had issues with people’s name and how to pronounce some of them, like Hugh ended up as “hug” – the good old days.
    A.

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  6. Preparing Pate a la Rapure must have been a labour of love and remembrance; an homage to times past. So enjoyed both stories and the photo of “Evangeline.”

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  7. We were very pleased to be invited to the Acadian dinner, not knowing what was in store….our Northern Ontario upbringing did little to prepare us. We thoroughly enjoyed the salt cod cakes and meat pie, accompanied by a couple of glasses of wine. Then the main course….I can only describe it a closely resembling a pan of roasted LePages white glue complete with wood chips…and tasting somewhat similar !!!
    We struggled through our generous helping, disguised under a litre of molasses, but politely refused seconds (whilst the Maritime contingent eagerly dove into additional servings). Blueberry grunt and more wine put us back on track.
    It has now been couple of weeks since the dinner and I think my systems have been purged…the colonoscopy scheduled for next week should (hopefully) confirm…
    But who am I to comment on heritage tastes and traditions…being of Scottish decent, I like bagpipes and haggis !!!
    Of course, Charline, we are only kidding…we enjoyed every part of the dinner.
    We are certainly able to confirm that #43, Pate a la Rapure is fait accompli.

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    • Too funny. It was a pleasure to have you both as guests and so easy to please. And there is no sense comparing the Scots and the French.
      Have to admit your Valentine dinner certainly surpassed the Acadian one! 🙂

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  8. Pingback: #30 – Mystery Thing: A Tour Down Memory Lane | 60while60

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