Sunday, 28 December 2014

Rappie Pie

I'm cheating a little bit here since this isn't something that I've ever made. It is one of my favourite foods in the whole wide world though. And my mom makes wonderful rappie pie, so I figured I'd write a bit about it. If I ever decide to try making it myself, I'll do another write-up (and hopefully remember to take pictures), but for now, I'll just share the process.

Rappie pie is another one of those dishes, like oxtail soup, that's really a labour of love. It's a lot of effort to make, but that just makes it so much more special since that means it can't really be every day fare.

At its core, rappie pie is really just potatoes and chicken. Sounds simple, right? But it's all in how you prepare them!

The raw potatoes must be grated extremely finely. Think "I am setting out to make potato flour" rather than "I am setting out to grate potatoes". And then the liquid must be squeezed out of them. If you are a hardcore, Acadian granny, you'll probably do this by hand, pressing the grated potatoes in cheesecloth. For the rest of us, this is where a juicer comes in handy.

Once the potatoes are all juiced, you need to measure how much liquid you got out of them. You don't need the liquid, you just need to know how much there was.

The other main component of rappie pie, chicken, can be dealt with a little more simply. You need to cut up and cook a whole chicken (preferably a big, tasty one) and then pick all the meat from the bones and shred it. The best approach is probably to treat it like you're making chicken soup. Cook it in a big pot with some water, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and whatever other seasonings you like in your chicken soup. Maybe toss in an onion or two and some carrot and celery as well.

Now you should have a big pile of shredded cooked chicken and a pot of stock which you should skim and strain before using. Along with your juiced potatoes, this is all you need to make rappie pie!

Remember when I said that you didn't need the potato juice but you needed to know how much there was? Yeah, that's because you're gonna replace all the liquid extracted from the potatoes with delicious, delicious chicken stock. You'll probably want to add a little more salt and pepper to the potatoes at this point too.

Now it's just a simple matter of layering the potatoes into a pan with the chicken and baking it. It doesn't look like much, but I promise, it's completely wonderful to eat! The edges get all lovely and crisp and the centre has a lovely creaminess to it with chunks of chicken burried inside. It is delicious!

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