By Bone Man on November 29, 2006
"Are you tiring a bit of the Food TV Recipe Syndrome as I am? By that comment, I mean all the redundant routines of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, white wine, chicken breast, balsamic vinegar, etc. I love all those things but after a time, one’s food can tend to take on the same flavors at every meal, regardless of what you’ve fixed. So, I fell back on my home cooking basics on this one and melded a recipe of my mother’s with what we now know are American ethnic food themes. The end product: a great-tasting one-dish meal, any leftovers from which will disappear quickly. I hate wasting food, don’t you? The central idea of this dish, which I have meticulously preserved, as I mentioned, originated with my own mother, Mary L. Crabtree, who frequently served this family favorite to us during the 1950s and ‘60s…. Slumgullion. Some say Slumgullion has an Irish origin, some would say it’s Italian. The truth is that American Slumgullion is most likely a fusion of both. Slumgullion in its genesis was generically defined as a “watery stew” – that certainly does not describe, in the least, what my mom prepared for us. In fact, this particular Slumgullion doesn’t resemble a stew at all – it’s more akin to a form of Johnny Marzetti, only better, in my opinion, and prepared on the stovetop instead of in the oven. Mom’s recipe was both delicious and hearty. And I should mention at this point that my family came directly from multiple generations of native Appalachians, and so, mom’s recipe was inexpensive, used common local ingredients and, was very filling, all of which represent Appalachian cooking caveats and additionally, necessary for us to stay within a tight family budget. This recipe, as I have listed it, takes my mother’s dish and incorporates it with a slight fusion influence of Cajun, Italian-American, midwestern, Tex-Mex and, of course, Appalachian fare. All but the Cajun facet are immediately apparent – a second look, though, will reveal the Cajun Holy Trinity of cooking: sautéed onions, celery, and green bell pepper. And if you think that I’ve gotten a bit wordy with the description of, and basis for, this recipe, it’s because I want you to know how much research and testing I’ve put into it – it’s not something that was simply “thrown together”. Great thought was given to these ingredients, and many more which did not really benefit the dish and, thus, the dubious ingredients were eliminated from the recipe, a process which is often painful for any chef. But no one would have laughed harder at my efforts and description here than my own mom – because my mom DID throw things together and they always came out great. She was a natural-born chef but she was also a humble woman and would have demurred had you addressed her by that title. I would caution everyone who tries this one to not shortcut the method, (e.g., shocking the cooked pasta in cold water), or you might end up with Slumgullion Mush. And dee514’s Italian Spices are integral to the dish – since they work great in pretty much anything Italian, (lasagna, spaghetti, etc.), make up a batch and you’ll be very glad for it! To summarize this tome of a recipe description, I’ll state that I tried to do the same thing with this recipe as Dvorak did with classical music when he wrote his New World Symphony (No. 9), if you are familiar with that notable piece. If not, give that monumental symphony a listen as you savor the robust flavor of Fusion Slumgullion along with some buttered white bread. As a final note, do not for a minute believe that this recipe will result in anything sophisticated because it’s just plain good eatin’, folks! Enjoy, my friends!"
Serving Size: 1 (850 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 10
"Judging from that lengthy recipe description, I thought this was going to be better than it was. It didn't deliver a lot of flavor though, and tasted like a think minestrone soup. Maybe I'm just too used to exotic recipes or something...."
"Oh my goodness...this was SSSOOOOOOOOOOOO good! It really takes you back to a simpler time (pre Food Network; I have to agree with you Bone Man; sometimes you just want good ole comfort food like Mom used to make...or not, in my case...my Mom can't cook to save her life). This was awesome and my family of picky-picky-picky eaters all gave it a thumbs up. I made just a few changes due to what I had on hand: replaced macaroni with wheat corkscrew pasta and only had 1 lb. ground chuck so I added 1/2 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage and threw in a drained small can of mushrooms. And the best part is that it took next to no time at all to prepare. Thanks for sharing a wonderful comfort food recipe that will be in our regular rotation from now on!!!"
"my kid's adopted Grandma Zola (aka my other mother-in-love) made Slumgullion to her high schoolers & friends. My kids came home for the weekend from college with friends & I wanted to made this but had no ideas all of the ingredients. Looks and tastes just about like hers! Yea. We're serving it on Blue Willow china, her favorite, in her honor. We just wish she were her."
"I made this tonight with ground turkey instead of beef - YUM! This was very, very tasty. Thanks for a great recipe!"
"I know I know I am NOT to mess with this recipe...... But I had to! I did have to scale it down since I only have 2 mouths to feed in this house. So I made about half the recipe with plans for letovers. This makes a wonderful meal! The spices really do bring this dish to another level. Since I never really use salt in any of my cooking I left it out completly. Awesome, awesome recipe!"
"This is a freshly posted recipe and it was just what I was looking for. I started this early this morning and let me assure you, the aroma in the kitchen right now is unbelievable. I grew up in Nebraska and we called it "slumgully" I am from Norwegian and Swedish descent, so I do not know where the original terminology "slumgullion" came from. Kudos to your mom for her creativity and her use of ingredients she had on hand. dee415's italian spices are the crowning glory to this too! Thanks Boneman for a good story and a wonderful meal. KCShell"