What Is Rappie Pie?

Angela Farrer

Rappie pie is a dish commonly found in Canadian cuisine, particularly among cooks of Acadian descent. It typically consists of grated, boiled potatoes that are added to broth, onions, and various meats for flavor. Traditional rappie pie recipes typically call for a top layer of potatoes to be added in a similar fashion as other types of casserole dishes. Rappie pie gets its name from the French term patates râpées, which means "grated potatoes," and it is also sometimes called "rapure pie." This dish is primarily found in certain southwestern regions of Nova Scotia, where it is a comfort food that is a popular part of local Acadian culture.

Potatoes can be used to make stovies.
Potatoes can be used to make stovies.

One of the first steps to preparing rappie pie is to steep the shredded potatoes in boiling water and then to squeeze out as much water as possible once the potatoes are softened. Traditional Acadian cooks frequently wrap small amounts of grated potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring out the water by hand. This step is considered physically demanding, but necessary for a good rappie pie. An alternative is to use frozen shredded potatoes that already have the moisture removed. The finished potatoes are then mixed with flavored beef, chicken, or vegetable broth, according to the cook's preference.

Rappie pie is particularly popular in Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada.
Rappie pie is particularly popular in Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada.

Meats used in rappie pie can vary widely according to family recipes and local favorites. Many cooks use chicken, pork, or beef, while others prefer freshly-caught local seafood items, such as clams. Acadians who add bits of pork will often mix in the liquid pork fat as well for additional hearty flavor. Chopped and cooked onions are the most common source of vegetable flavor in this dish, and many fans of this recipe believe that it is not complete without certain condiments such as butter or molasses.

Some Nova Scotia natives debate whether rappie pie is best eaten topped with molasses according to some French cuisine traditions or with butter according to English ones. This reflects the mixed heritage of the region, and preferences are generally mixed. Some newer recipe versions call for topping rappie pie with bacon pieces or even ketchup as an alternative. Regardless of the topping choices, many Acadians consider this dish to be a comfort food staple in both homes and local family-owned restaurants. Family recipes are often handed down from one generation to the next.

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