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I've found that the only place in the world that this recipe is called "American Chop Suey" is in and around the Boston area. Everywhere else it is known as goulash. Go into most any diner north of Boston, and "American Chop Suey" is on the lunch menu. This is a one pot meal that is terrific during these budget-conscious times. It is a comfort food that brings back wonderful childhood memories of simpler times. I've told friends that have asked for the recipe that if I give it to them, they have to call it "American Chop Suey", not goulash:).
- 1 (16 ounce) box elbow macaroni, cooked al dente according to directions on box
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 large green bell peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces (don't cut too small)
- 2 medium sweet onions, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 -2 garlic clove, minced (depending on your taste for garlic)
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground beef (you could use just a pound, but I like it meaty)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, with juices (use 4 cans, if you like a lot of tomatoes)
- In a very large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped celery and cook a few minutes. Add the cut-up green bell pepper, and cook a few more minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook until celery, peppers, and onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and mix into the vegetables. Then add the ground beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until the ground beef is browned, about another 5 minutes, mixing the beef up with the vegetables. Sprinkle the mixture with the sugar, basil, oregano, and parsley and mix. Add the stewed tomatoes, juices and all. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Let simmer, covered, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook the elbow macaroni, according to the directions on box, in a very large saucepan. But, don't overcook. The macaroni should be al dente, because it will continue to cook a little when added to the beef/vegetable mixture. Drain pasta and put back into the large saucepan in which it was cooked.
- Very carefully, add the beef and vegetable mixture, juices and all, to the drained pasta in the large saucepan. Mix well and keep heated, covered, stirring occasionally, on a very low heat.
- When ready to serve, just put the pot of "American Chop Suey" along with bowls in the middle of the table, so everyone can help themselves. Serve with a basket of good Italian bread and butter.