Though I had heard of American Chop Suey before, I had never ordered it. To me, Chop Suey is a Chinese dish that consists of meats (usually chicken, beef, shrimp or pork), made with vegetables such as bean sprouts, cabbage or celery and mixed with a sauce. I guess it's typically served with rice but can become the "Chinese-American" form of chow mein when deep fried noodles are added. Though I'm not against ordering Chop Suey, it's not something I crave when I want Chinese food.
Since chop suey in Chinese supposedly means "mixed pieces" I can see where American Chop Suey got it's name. I've actually been eating versions of this all my life...Gorp. Glop. Mac and Tomato. American Mix. I've just never called it American Chop Suey. I swear there was a version of this you used to be able to make with a box of Hamburger Helper. And yes, I usually add cheese to the mix.
This recipe came from the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives book by Guy Fieri. It's adapted from a dish they serve at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the "blue plate special" they serve on Wednesdays.
This was good. Not fancy, but good. Quick. Easy. Stick to the ribs comfort food. Terrific reheated the next day. I needed more salt (but then when don't I want to salt something within an inch of it's life). I also thought that a full pound of macaroni was too much for just the pound of meat but it really didn't seem to matter. And I wanted cheese. But it probably wouldn't have been American Chop Suey if I'd filled it with cheese. I can totally see this filling up some hungry teens...or a few hungry adults.
AMERICAN CHOP SUEY
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup tomato juice
Pinch of sugar
1 pound elbow macaroni
Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Then add the ground beef and continue to cook, stirring and breaking up the chunks of meat with a spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the herbs and pepper over the meat, add salt to taste, and mix in well.
Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the tomato sauce, paste, and juice. Add sugar to taste. Simmer while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain. Mix the macaroni into the chop suey. Serve hot. Serves 8 (eight not hungry people in my book)
Note: I added a few more cloves of garlic. The tomato sauce was in a 15 ounce can so I just threw the entire amount in.
Note: I needed to cook the onions a bit longer than specified though they were fine when I microwaved leftovers the next day.
Note: I served this with grated Parmesan on the top...sorry, I just had to add the cheese!