American chop suey

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American chop suey
American Chop Suey (cropped).jpg
American chop suey
Course Main dish
Place of origin United States United States
Region or state New England New England
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Macaroni, ground beef, tomato-based sauce, various vegetables (usually green peppers and onions).
Food energy
(per serving)
300 - 664 kcal (-2480 kJ)
Similar dishes American goulash, beefaroni, cheeseburger macaroni, chili mac, macaroni and beef

American chop suey is an American pasta dish popular in New England.[1][2][3] It is related to other popular and similarly regional pasta dishes, like American goulash and even (more distantly) chili mac. Despite its name, it has only a very distant relation to Chinese and American Chinese cuisine.[3]

Standard American chop suey consists of elbow macaroni and bits of cooked ground beef with sautéed onions in a thick tomato-based sauce.[4] The dish is typically cooked in a frying or sauté pan, as opposed to being baked in an oven like a casserole. Historically, salt and pepper are the only seasonings needed and no cheese is used or added. The simplicity of the dish precludes the addition of green peppers, which cannot be added without changing the flavor quite drastically from that which has been historically enjoyed in Maine. [5] Though this comfort food is influenced by Italian-American cuisine as well as older New England quick and practical meals like the "potato bargain" and "necessity mess," it is known as "American chop suey" both because it is a sometimes-haphazard hodgepodge of meat, vegetables and Italian seasonings,[6] and because it once used rice, a base ingredient in Chinese cuisine, instead of pasta.[3]

The recipe is quite adaptable to taste and available ingredients. Elbow macaroni is the standard but can be substituted with pasta of similar size, such as ziti, farfalle, or rotelle. If the onions are omitted, or green peppers, mushrooms [7] added, etc. a delicious meal can be created, but will not be the "classic" New England dish. Whole, diced, or crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste are typical sauce bases for this dish. Black pepper, herbs and Worcestershire sauce are sometimes used in preparation.[8]

American chop suey[9] is served on a plate or in a bowl, usually accompanied by bread and often Worcestershire sauce. Sometimes grated Parmesan cheese is added after cooking.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bedell, Malcolm. "Classics: American Chop Suey". From Away. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "American Chop Suey Casserole". New England Today. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT, J. "American Chop Suey: The Cheesy, Beefy, Misnamed Stovetop Casserole That Deserves a Comeback". Serious Eats. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "What is American chop suey?". Ochef. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  5. ^ Standish, Marjorie (1969). Cooking Down East. Retrieved 2018-04-25. 
  6. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford companion to American food and drink (illustrated ed.). ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  7. ^ "Calories in Melissa's Homemade American Chop Suey Beef, Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Elbows - Calories and Nutrition Facts". Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  8. ^ Peter Johnstone. "American Chop Suey - Recipe". Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  9. ^ "American Chop Suey Recipes - Calories and Nutrition Facts". Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  10. ^ Seymour, Tom (2003). Tom Seymour's Maine: A Maine Anthology. Retrieved 2010-10-08.