Sunday, 4 December 2011

Acadian Tradition

You may or may not know that I lived in the Maritimes for seven years and during some of that time I worked in tourism. I got to know a lot about the history and culture of the Maritimes and really enjoyed my time there.

One of my favourite things to learn about in the Maritimes was the rich Acadian history. My interest may have stemmed from the what I learned about Acadian cooking, but it developed into learning about the history too.

Acadians were French colonists that refused to sign allegiance to the British during the 1700s and were expelled from living in the Maritimes because of it. Many Acadians were killed or died from disease during the expulsion and many others travelled down to Louisiana and made up the Cajun culture we still see there today.

Luckily for Canada, thousands of Acadians gradually returned home to the Maritimes and brought with them their culture and signature dishes.

You may think that Acadian cooking would show a lot of Cajun spices like we see in Louisiana, but actually Acadian cooking changed to Cajun when they arrived in Louisiana. Traditional Acadian cooking used a lot of root vegetables that could be stored during cold Canadian winters and this recipe is no exception to the rule.

Chicken Fricot - serves six

3 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cups of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups of flour (whole wheat or all purpose)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks

1. Add chicken breasts and oil to a large soup pot and brown chicken. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove it from the pot and set it aside.

2. Add next five ingredients to the pot and cook on medium high for about 15 minutes.

3. While veggies and cooking in the chicken stock, cut the chicken breasts into cubes and prepare your dumplings. Combine flour, baking powder, herbs, and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg yolks with 2/3 cup of water and drizzle overtop of flour mixture. Stir with a fork to make stretchy dough.

4. Divide dumpling batter into six dumplings and spoon batter on top of soup. Cover the pot and let the dumplings cook for about eight minutes or until the puff up and a knife poked into the centre of a dumpling will come out clean. Enjoy!

My version of Chicken Fricot may not be traditional because I use chicken breasts and chicken stock in place of a whole chicken and water, but it is easy and delicious. Plus, all you need are dumplings and it's a fricot!

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