Acadian cuisine is made for snug winter nights. With plenty of root vegetables, stewed meats, and rich molasses, these eastern-Canadian dishes are as frugal as they are delicious. Vegetables often take the starring role, nothing is ever wasted, and recipes are easily adapted to accommodate available ingredients. These nine Acadian dishes should be on everyone’s radar.
If chicken soup is the answer to any ailment, the delicate broth, chunky vegetables, and tender chicken of an Acadian fricot might just make it the best medicine around. Soft dumplings cooked in the soup’s steam take the comfort factor to the next level.
Acadians might just do chowder better than anyone. Their creamy seafood chowders are legendary but humble corn chowder is not to be missed. Potatoes, onions, and creamed corn come together to make the coziest bowl imaginable.
Generosity and community are at the heart of Acadian cuisine, and no dish personifies these qualities better than rappie pie. Many hands come together to make light work of the task of grating, draining, and then rehydrating the potatoes that top the poached meat. You’ll find this casserole at every Acadian family event in southern Nova Scotia and across the region.
Acadian meat pie is a dense, delicious dish of seasoned shredded meat baked in rich pastry. A combination of pork and chicken is popular but in the olden days, other meats like stewed rabbit were often used. Excellent with a side of molasses or maybe some homemade pickled veggies.
Fresh fish, smoked fish, and salted fish all play a big part in Acadian cuisine but perhaps none is as tasty as fried smelts. These petite fish, popular with ice fishers, are irresistible when fried up with a bit of salt and butter and served with some fresh homemade bread on the side.
Mashed turnips and carrots
Root vegetables dominate regional menus, but that doesn’t mean that Acadian cuisine is all about potatoes. A mash of turnips or rutabagas and carrots, along with plenty of butter, salt, pepper, and maybe a splash of maple syrup, is popular at holidays and Sunday dinners.
Salted onions and salted herbs
The waste-not, want-not mentality of Acadian cuisine extends to condiments. Green onions, chives, and herbals like parsley are preserved with salt and stored in jars to save summer’s bounty well into winter to season every main course.
It’s impossible to imagine an Acadian kitchen without molasses. The thick syrup is equally at home in savoury dishes (like old-fashioned baked beans) as it is in desserts. You can find large, soft, lightly spiced molasses cookies in every Acadian grandma’s cookie jar.
Yes, this is indeed a real dessert! Nun’s Farts or Pets-de-Soeur are pieces of leftover pie crust turned into a cinnamon bun-cookie hybrid. Brown sugar or maple sugar, cinnamon, butter, and evaporated milk turn leftover scraps into a delicious dessert—and usually a few giggles too!
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