American Chop-Suey 2

IMG_20160306_201042562Go to any New England household and the resident Chef, mom, has somewhere in their collection of traditions a recipe for American Chop-Suey. Designed as a quick comfort food, anything from the pantry is at the root of this New England tradition.  Any good church recipe book has a handful of recipes for this dish.

Versatile flavor is twisted by anyone with the selection of the right spices. Want an Italian influence, use fresh or dried oregano and basil (see herein). Want a slightly nutty/earthy flavor, add some nutmeg and ground coriander. Want a Greek undertone, add some Greek oregano, smoke paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon and ground star of anise. Want some zing, add some crushed red pepper

This is a dish that truly can take on any flavor the family wants. Sure to become your family tradition.


  • 1 small diced green bell pepper
  • 1 small diced red bell pepper
  • 1.5 medium diced sweet onion
  • 1 medium diced shallot
  • 5 to 6 mined garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 TSP cracked black pepper
  • 4 TSP dried oregano
  • 2 TSP dried basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 2/3 cups crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 lb. ground chuck (85% lean)
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 1.5 lb. al-dente elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 4 TBSP if unsalted butter


  1. Prepare onions, peppets and garlic. Dice cuts should be small.
  2. Heat/melt EVOO & Unsalted butter in a large covered saute pan on medium-low heat.
  3. Saute onions and peppers till soft/translucent (4 to 6 min)
  4. Add minced garlic and saute (2 to 3 min)
  5. Add cracked black pepper, 1 to 2 TSP of kosher salt, 2 TSP dried oregano, 2 TSP dried basil and stir in spices.
  6. Add ground Chuck, ground sausage, Brown mixing in with veggies and spices (breaking up into small pieces), over medium heat (6 to 8 min.)
  7. Lower heat to medium-low and add tomato paste, crushed tomato sauce and can of diced tomatoes. Stir to combine with veggies and meat.
  8. Add 2 TSP of dried oregano, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil, and 1 tsp of kosher salt, stir to combine.
  9. Simmer combined mixture for 10 to 20 minutes over low heat to allow flavors to combine. Keep warm.
  10. While meat mixture simmers, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stock pot. Add elbow macaroni and boil till al-dente (6 to 8 min, check package instructions).
  11. Drain macaroni and return to pot.
  12. Add meat mixture to stock pot. Stir and fold to combine with macaroni.
  13. Plate with garlic bread, steamed veggies if your choice or a side salad.

Yields: 8 to 10 servings