It is a typical dish in the Acadian region of Canadian, and in the Channel Island named Jersey.
Fricot in Acadia is like a thick-brothed stew, with potatoes, dumplings, and either meat (typically chicken), fish or seafood, or fish and seafood (such as clams or cockles.) It is often flavoured with some summer savoury and served with bread on the side.
Sometimes a version is made with neither meat nor fish or seafood. It is called “fricot à la bezette”, which is a bit of a joke name, meaning “weasel fricot.” The feature ingredient in this is potatoes.
To make a basic fricot, to chop up meat, brown it, then remove and set aside. Onion and salted herbs are sautéed in butter until the onion is golden brown. Water or stock (meat or fish) is added, then diced potato, salt and pepper, and the browned meat. This is simmered for 20 minutes, after which you can add dumplings and cook further. You can thicken the broth further with a thickener made of flour and water if desired.
Many non-Acadians find Fricot quite bland, so they often jazz up the recipes with other seasonings and spices.
In the past, people would say “come for fricot” as a meal invitation, in the same way that the English would say “come for tea. “Donner un grand fricot” means to give a great feast or large meal.
A dish called Fricot is also made in Jersey (the Channel Island.)
Fricot there is a side-dish, a casserole. Not a cassserole in the sense of an oven casserole, rather a mixture of things cooked on their own, mixed together, and served up. Potatoes (“patates”), for which Jersey is famous, feature in most of the recipes, as well as beans.
One Jersey Fricot — mashed potato with milk (“lait”) in it, carmelized onion, and beans (“pais”) — can be used as a sidefish for fish such as mackerel (“maqu’ré.”) Another one is crushed potatoes and cheese (“fronmage.”)
An annual Fête du Fricot is held in St. Helier, Jersey.
In the summer months of the mid-1800s, Norman fisherman from Jersey had frequent contact with Acadians in the New World as the fisherman worked off the shores of Nova Scotia.
Fricot comes from the word “fricoter”, to cook or prepare a meal.
Cormier-Boudreau, Marielle and Melvin Gallant. A Taste of Acadie. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions. 1991.