Thursday, September 24, 2009
Practically a dream come true
American Chop Suey
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Copyright 2008
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef I used ground venison which I boiled first
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Kosher salt I used celery salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup tomato juice I used Spicy V-8
Pinch of sugar
1 pound elbow macaroni I used non-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.
First things first. For years I have yearned to be able to buy non-elbow macaroni. I know from older recipe pamphlets that it used to be available. The technology is still around since Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is made with non-elbow macaroni. I don't mean to insult elbow macaroni but what is that great about it that it shoved the non-elbow variety right off the market?
So when I saw this new Quick Cook Pasta in non-elbow macaroni shape (the description on the pasta's site is wrong - it's not curved!) in Wal-Mart, I nearly leaped for joy.
I was worried that this quick cook pasta wouldn't be as good as regular pasta but it was close. It did cook very quickly - an excellent time saver. Unfortunately the noodles were a bit bigger than I would have liked since they we getting into ziti territory but at least the non-elbow noodle has it's foot back in the door.
Okay, now about the recipe. It was recommended to me and I had no doubt it would be good. I opted to use venison since it's almost deer season again and I have still have a lot of venison in the freezer. I boiled the ground venison first just to be sure there wasn't too much deer-taste there. You can't exactly marinate ground meat so this is my personal solution to using ground venison. I've worked with it without pre-treating it and usually it's been fine but I didn't want to take a chance. I just used water but sometimes I use some beef bouillon.
I used celery salt instead of kosher salt and Spicy V-8 instead of tomato juice since my favorite venison recipe, Venison in Sauce, includes celery and that's what really makes it, in my opinion.
This was a real crowd-pleaser. It has a strong tomato sauce which made it great for the venison. My son loved it and especially liked the noodles (yep, he's my boy.)
I haven't had a loser from this cookbook yet. I hope there's another volume on the way.
Question of the Day: Are there any long-lost products you would like to see come back?