Revised American Chop Suey

My family calls this recipe American chop suey. It is a super simple recipe that involves no fancy ingredients or seasonings. It contains ground meat, onions, celery and tomatoes in a thickened sauce. It is served over rice but you could pour it over noodles or boiled potatoes. The only seasoning is salt and black pepper. Not only is it tasty, it is filling. The male half of the house really likes it and had seconds.

This is a smaller version of the original recipe. It contains less meat. The original recipe is from the 1920s or 1930s. It came from my great aunt. She passed it on to my Mother because it was one of my Dad’s favorite dishes. Even though Mom knew very darn little about cooking this was one recipe she always succeeded at. I’ve always had the impression that after those lessons my great aunt was certain Dad would end up starving. Mom was more comfortable at a desk or sewing machine than in a kitchen.


The recipe will make 4 servings. The original recipe made more. It can be found in the archives.

Revised American Chop Suey


  • 1/2 lb. ground beef or pork or a combination (plain ground sausage)
  • 2 teaspoons of shortening or cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 large onions, diced
  • 4 large ribs of celery, sliced
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes plus the juice
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour


Prepare the vegetables and set them aside.

Use a large deep sauce pan or a Dutch oven. Heat 2 teaspoons of shortening or cooking oil and when it is hot crumble the meat and add it. Stir and cook until the meat has browned.

Add the onions and celery. Stir and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the onions begin to wilt. Add the can of stewed tomatoes plus the liquid. Add 1/2 to 3/4 can of liquid. Add about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Stir well.

Before the ingredients come to a boil again sprinkle the flour over the top of the ingredients. I used about 1/4 cup of flour. It should cover the surface. Stir until the mixture begins to boil and all the flour has been absorbed. When it has boiled for about 5 minutes adjust the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer over very low heat for at least 1 to 2 hours. Check once in a while, stir and add more water as needed.

Serve over a bed of rice.


This is pretty easy as long as you have a good timer. It is from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. It will make about 3 cups of rice.


  • 1 cup of raw rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt


Put the rice, water and salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it is at a rolling boil turn the burner down to simmer and cover the pan. Time for exactly 14 minutes. Do not remove the lid until the time is up. Remove from the buner and remove the lid. Add butter if you want. Stir the rice with a fork to fluff it.


If you have bacon fat use it to fry the meat in. You can dice a couple slices of bacon and fry them, then add the ground meat. It adds a lot to the dish. People used to use bacon fat instead of shortening or cooking oil to brown meat and many old recipes don’t mention that because it was something everyone did.

You can put soy sauce or bottled chili sauce on the table. Dad used to pour chili sauce on it. His grandmother and aunt used to make homemade chili sauce.

The rice can be mixed into the finished meat and vegetable mixture.

The meat could be left out and mushrooms, eggplant or beans used instead.

Boiled potatoes can be added.


About dwittopinions

A great grandmother living in the middle of the United States. My interests include art, needlework, reading, history, politics, and cooking.
This entry was posted in Dinner, Food, Lunch, Main Dishes, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Revised American Chop Suey

  1. I remember dad making American Chop Suey when we were kids…yours is a delightfully simple recipe, must try it out:)

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