Adapted from Pantry and Palate (Nimbus Publishing, 2017), by Simon Thibault
In his book Pantry and Palate, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based journalist Simon Thibault shines light on the homey cuisine of the Acadians, descendants of French colonists who landed in Eastern Canada during the 17th and 18th centuries. Many Acadians eventually resettled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns and developed a culinary exchange that included their Maritime roots and Louisiana natives.
Fricot is the Acadians’ traditional chicken soup. There are as many versions of this main-course dish in the Maritime provinces as there are households, but this spicy take is a prime example of the interchange that occurred between different cuisines.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 pound smoked sausage, such as Andouille, sliced into ½-inch pieces
- 4 small carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 4-pound chicken, skin removed, cut into 10 pieces
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In medium stockpot set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onions, season with a dash of salt and cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Place sausage in pot, and cook another 5 minutes, or until browned. Add carrots, potatoes, cayenne and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to bowl.
Return pot to medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and brown chicken pieces on all sides. Add sausage mixture back to pot, followed by enough water to cover everything by 1 inch. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to top. Partially cover and simmer for 1 hour. If broth seems watery, uncover and reduce heat slightly.
Remove chicken, and shred meat with two forks. Discard bones, and return chicken to pot. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serves 4–6.
Pierre Sparr NV Brut Rosé (Crémant d’Alsace). Bubbles make a simple chicken soup feel extra-special, and this Alsace crémant nods to the cuisine’s French roots. Bright pink, it has aromas full of bruised apple peel. The frothy palate then majors on ripe, juicy red-apple flavors and boosts them with bubbly foam. The finish is dry and very refreshing.