Acadian Recipes

Chicken Fricot, Lafiouk Diner, Kouchibouguac, New Brunswick  Canada

The Acadians’ ties to their lands are as strong as their heritage runs deep, and many of the signature dishes from this vibrant culture reflect a long history of farming and fishing. Try your hand at these traditional favourites, but don’t be afraid to add your own twist – it’s an Acadian tradition!

  • Chicken Fricot

    (Fricot au poulet)

    This is by far the most popular fricot in Acadia. For important social occasions, such as frolics and corvées, a chicken was killed to make a big fricot. Even today, most Acadian families still make this delicious dish.

    1 chicken
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) butter
    1 large chopped onion
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) flour
    12 cups (3 L) water
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) summer savoury
    5 cups (1.25 L) diced potatoes
    Salt and pepper

    Cut the chicken into large pieces and brown them in butter, making sure that all sides are golden brown. Remove the chicken and sauté the onion in the butter. Add the flour and sauté the onion for another 1 - 2 minutes. Add the water, the chicken, salt, pepper and summer savoury. Simmer the mixture until the chicken is tender (about a half hour). Add the potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes.

    Variation: Pâtes (see recipe below) are frequently added to fricot. When using pâtes, omit the flour from the traditional recipe, and add the dumplings to the fricot about 7 minutes before the fricot is ready to be served, taking care not to uncover the pot while the dumplings are cooking.

    In a bowl, mix 1 cup (250 ml) of flour with ½ tsp. (3 ml) of salt and 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of baking powder. Gradually add ½ cup (125 ml) of cold water.
    Drop the mixture into the fricot or pot-en-pot a spoonful at a time. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes.

  • Cinnamon Rolls

    (Pets de soeur)

    These pastries, which resemble cinnamon rolls, have been made throughout Acadia for many, many years. Although they are usually given the colourful name Pets de soeurs (literally, nun’s fart), they are also called Rosettes, Rondelles, Hirondelles, Bourriques de vieilles, Bourriques de soeurs or Bourriques de viarges (Rosettes, Slices, Swallows, Old Women’s Belly Buttons, Nun’s Belly Buttons and Virgin’s Belly Buttons).

    3 cups (750 ml) flour
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) baking powder
    1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
    1 tsp. (5 ml) sugar
    ½ cup (125 ml) lard
    1 cup (250 ml) milk

    2 tbsp. (30 ml) butter, softened
    1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
    1 tsp. (5 ml) cinnamon
    1 cup (250 ml) water

    Sift the dry ingredients together. Blend in the lard to form a coarse mixture. Gradually add the milk until a soft dough is formed.  Roll the dough until it is fairly thin, although it should be thicker than a regular pie crust.

    Butter the dough with soft butter, cover with ¼ inch (6 mm) of brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll the dough like a jelly roll and slice into circles about ½ inch (15 mm) thick.

    Pour water into a casserole dish. Put the sliced dough into the casserole and bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 30 minutes or until the pets de soeur are golden brown.

    Variation: Cranberry jam may be substituted for the sugar and the cinnamon.

  • Clam Pie

    (Pâté aux coques)

    1½ cup (375 ml) cooked clams
    ¾ cup (175 ml) potatoes, diced
    1 onion, chopped
    3 tbsp. (45 ml) butter
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) flour
    Salt and pepper  
    1 pie crust (see recipe below)

    Steam the clams and reserve the liquid (see instructions below).

    Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth to remove the sand and pour it into a large pot. Add enough water to make 2 cups (500 ml).  Add the potatoes, bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pot and reserve the cooking liquid.

    Sauté onion in butter until transparent. Add the flour and sauté for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the cooking liquid and simmer for another 2 - 3 minutes. Add the clams and the potatoes. Season to taste.

    Place the clam-and-potato mixture in a pie shell and cover with a second crust. Bake at 400◦F (200◦C) until the crust is golden brown.

    Variation: Pâté aux palourdes ou grosses coques (Quahog Pie): Use the same method as above but do not cook the quahogs before adding them to the sauce. Simply open the quahogs with a knife, cut the flesh into pieces and add them to the pie with the potatoes. Pâté aux moules (Mussel Pie) may be made using the same procedure.

    Steamed Clams (coques à la vapeur) - One of the most popular ways of preparing fresh clams is to steam them. To prepare the clams in the traditional way, wash them with sea water, if possible. If there appears to be a lot of sand in them, soak the clams in salt water for a couple of hours. Put the clams in a large pot without water and cover. Heat at medium heat for about 15 minutes or until all the clams are open. Serve the clams in soup bowls with the juice extracted during cooking. To eat the clams, take them from their shells, removing the brown membrane covering the neck. Dip the clams in the juice and eat them with bread and butter.

  • Dried Cod Fishcakes

    (Galettes à la morue sèche)

    Galettes are usually made with leftover fish.

    1 onion, chopped
    1 - 2 tbsp. (15 - 30 ml) butter, lard or pork fat
    2 cups (500 ml) potatoes, cooked and mashed
    1 cup (250 ml) dried cod, cooked and broken into pieces
    1 egg (optional)
    Salt and pepper

    Sauté the chopped onion in the butter, pork fat or lard until the onion are golden brown. (Pork fat remaining from previous cooking usually produces the best results.) Put the mashed potatoes in a large bowl. Add the fish and the onions. Season with salt and pepper and mix the ingredients. If desired, add an egg and blend the mixture together.

    Roll the potato mixture into balls and flatten the balls into flat cakes. Roll the cakes in flour and fry them in butter until they are golden brown on both sides.

  • Mashed Turnips and Potatoes

    (Mioche au naveau)

    This dish is a blend of potatoes and turnips, and its name varies slightly from region to region, for example, Petit-Rocher Écrasé au naveau, and in Robertville Mailloche au naveau.  This dish was frequently served as a full meal, accompanied by bread and butter.

    1 medium-sized turnip
    5 potatoes
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) salted herbs
    2 onions, chopped
    ¼ lb. (125 g) salt pork (or butter), diced
    Salt and pepper

    Place the turnip and the potatoes in a large pot with just enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring the water to a boil and add the salt, pepper, salted herbs and 1 chopped onion. Simmer for 20 minutes.

    In a skillet, simmer the pork for 2 minutes with a small amount of water to remove some of the salt. Pour off the water and sauté the pork in its own fat. When the pork is crisp and brown put it aside and sauté the remaining onion in the fat that remains.

    When the potatoes and turnip are tender, mash the vegetables together and blend with the pork pieces, onions and fat. Season to taste and serve immediately while the pork is still crisp.

    Variation: If the pork fat is not available, fry the onion in ¼ cup (60 ml) of butter.

  • Meat Pie

    (Pâté à la viande)

    Pâté is a meat pie common to all Acadian communities. Although still an integral part of the Acadian Christmas Eve celebration, pâté is now made throughout the year.

    Pâté is usually prepared with pork mixed with chicken, hare and, sometimes, beef. Every region boasts its own characteristic recipe, using different ingredients, methods of preparation and techniques for preparing the crusts.

    In all areas, however, pâté is eaten as a meal in itself, whether for breakfast, supper or a midnight snack. In Petit-Rocher and Campbellton, a variation called Petit cochons (little pigs) is often served. Prepared in the same manner as regular pâté, Petit cochons are made from circles of dough about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Folded in half, they resemble half-moon shaped pockets.

    Pâté can be kept for several days if refrigerated. Before serving, simply place it in  350◦F (180◦C) oven for a few minutes.

    Early Acadians usually made pâté with pork. Today most Acadians use several kinds of meat in a single pie to reduce the amount of fat in the dish and to vary the taste.

    2 lbs. (1 kg) pork
    2 lbs. meat (1 kg) (hare, beef, chicken)
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) onion, chopped
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) flour
    1  pie crust (see recipe below)
    Salt and pepper
    Summer savoury and powdered cloves, to taste

    Cut half of the meat into ½-inch (15-mm) cubes. Cut the rest of the meat into larger pieces, reserving the bones. Put the meat and the bones in a pot with the onion, salt, pepper and just enough water to cover the ingredients. Simmer for 1½ hours, adding more water if necessary. After 1 hour, add the spices and the chopped onions.

    Allow the mixture to cool and remove the meat from the bones, cutting it into small pieces. Return the meat to the cooking liquid, thicken it with flour mixed with water and simmer the mixture for another 2 - 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool.

    Put the mixture into a pastry shell and cover with a crust pricked with holes to allow the steam to escape. Bake at 400◦F (200◦C) for 30 minutes. Makes 3 or 4 meat pies.

    Variation: In some areas of northern New Brunswick, diced potatoes are added to the mixture.

  • Pie crust

    (Croûte à Pâté)

    3½ cups (875 ml) flour
    1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
    2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
    1¼ cup (310 ml) lard
    ¾ cup (175 ml) liquid (cold water + 1 tbsp. (15 ml) white vinegar)

    Sift the dry ingredients together. Blend the lard into the flour mixture. Gradually add the liquid, kneading the dough with a fork. When the dough has attained the desired consistency, set it aside for about 20 minutes.

    Roll the dough as thin as you would for a pie crust. Put the shell on a pie plate and fill it with the meat mixture, including the cooking liquid. Cover with a second crust, pricking the top crust to allow the steam to escape.

    Bake at 400◦F (200◦C) for 20 - 25 minutes. Makes 2 pies.

  • The Ploye

    (La Ploye)

    A "ploye", made with buckweat flour, is part of history and tradition for the Madawaska Valley and surrounding area.  The "ploye" had a place of honour at the table for numerous families and would often replace the bread.  A real "ploye" is not turned while cooking; it can be eaten with butter, molasses, sugar and maple syrup.

    1 cup (250 ml) of white flour
    2 cups (500 ml) of buckwheat flour from Madawaska
    2 cups (500 ml) of cold water
    1 tsp. (5 ml) of fine salt

    Mix it all and add 2 cups (500 ml) of boiling water, and 2 tsp. (10 ml) of baking powder.  Cook in a hot pan on one side only.

  • Poutines with a Hole

    (Poutines à trou)

    Mainly made in southeastern New Brunswick, where they are sometimes called Poutines routies (Roasted Poutines) because they are baked in the oven. Poutines à trou are considered to be the most delectable of Acadian desserts.

    2½ cups (625 ml) flour
    4 tsp. (20 ml) baking powder
    ½ tsp. (3 ml) salt
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) sugar
    ¼ cup (60 ml) fat (butter or lard)
    ¾ cup (175 ml) milk

    4 apples
    ½ cup (125 ml) seedless raisins
    ½ cup (125 ml) cranberries

    1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
    ¾ cup (175 ml) water

    Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Blend in the lard to form a coarse mixture. Add the milk and mix the dough well. Divide the dough into twelve pieces. Roll each piece until it is 5 - 6 inches (12 - 15 cm) in diameter.

    Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Place the apple pieces, raisins and cranberries in the centre of each circle of dough. Moisten the edge of the dough with milk or water, and roll the dough around the ingredients so as to form a ball.

    Carefully close the opening and place the poutine upside down on a pan.
    Make a hole about ½ inch (15 mm) in diameter on the top of each poutine. Bake at 375◦F (190◦C) for 30 minutes.

    Prepare the syrup by mixing the sugar and water. Boil for 5 minutes.

    When the poutines are ready, remove them from the oven and pour the syrup into the hole on the top of each poutine. Serve cold or hot. Makes 12 poutines.

  • Pulled Molasses Taffy

    (Tire à la mélasse)

    2 cups (500 ml) molasses
    1 cup (250 ml) sugar
    ¼ cup (60 ml) water
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) vinegar

    Put all the ingredients into a heavy pot. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly so that the mixture does not stick to the pan. Boil until the mixture forms a ball when a small amount is dropped into cold water.

    Pour the mixture onto two well-greased plates. Allow the candy to cool, without hardening completely. With buttered hands, pull the candy until it becomes firm and stiff.

    Twist the candy like rope until it is about the thickness of a finger, and cut it into 1½-inch (4-cm) pieces with well-buttered scissors. Store in a cold place.

    Variation: ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) baking soda may be added to the mixture once it has cooked to give the candy a paler, more bubbly appearance.

  • White Taffy

    (Tire Blanche)

    Maple candy was the great attraction of Shrove Tuesday, because this was the day for la tire (the maple candy pull). In several areas, people wore costumes and went from house to house collecting sugar and molasses for the candy pull. When evening arrived, the families of those who had collected the ingredients assembled for 'la tire'. Since all of the candy had to be consumed before midnight, the beginning of Lent, people ate to the point of being sick.

    2 cups (500 ml) white sugar
    ¼ tsp. (1 ml) cream of tarter
    1 cup (250 ml) water
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) vinegar

    Mix all ingredients in a heavy pot and boil without stirring so that the candy does not turn into sugar. Simmer until a small amount of the mixture hardens when dropped into cold water.

    Pour the mixture onto 2 well-buttered plates. Allow the candy to cool, without hardening completely. Join the two pieces together and pull the candy until it becomes very stiff. Twist the candy into a rope and cut it into ½-inch (¼-cm) pieces with buttered scissors. Store in a cold place.