My Ancestors Were A Hearty People: Poutine Râpée

When I was a child, I remember my grandparents eating gross-looking gray potato blobs they called “putsins.” My grandfather was from Maine and spoke French. I have heard a rumor that every American who shares my unusual last name was a descendant of one guy and his four horny sons. Judging that both of my paternal grandparents had over a dozen siblings each, I tend to think the rumor is true.

These “putsins” they ate were an Acadian delicacy also known as poutine râpée. They are a combination of grated and mashed potatoes with chopped salt pork in the center, which are boiled for two and a half to three hours. Yum. I mean, yuck. I guess they are served with either ketchup or with maple syrup.

As I googled around to refresh this dim childhood memory, I was stunned, STUNNED, I say, at all the people who seemed to know about this dish. And there were plenty of recipes. We were actually able to talk to my grandparents over the summer about how to make putsins (as they pronounced it) and despite the grossed out memories of my childhood, we endeavored to have a go at making our own poutine râpée.

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