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Welcome to my Blog 'In The Kitchen With Don'! Thank you for your visit and come back soon!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mama's Chop Suey

The holidays are a time when many of us remember and try to recreate family traditions.   This is one of my family's traditions, that was much loved and looked forward to at large family gatherings.   I grew up in a small town in southeast Missouri.  When I was a kid back in the 60's any kind of foreign foods were a rare and unusual treat.  For us pizza was bread dough covered with plain tomato sauce, ground beef, onion and grated American cheese on top.  Somehow my mom was given a recipe for something called chop suey.  It was unusual, it was tasty and something easy to make for a crowd.  It may have been faux Chinese, but we didn't know any better and we all loved it.   We still do, although we hadn't eaten it since my mom died 20+ years ago. 

This weekend my older sister is passing through town on her way to my brother's in southeast Missouri.  She and her husband are stopping in Topeka to spend the night at my younger sister's.    I told my local sister that I wanted them all over my place for supper and asked what I should make.   Jokingly I said, mama's chop suey?   My brother in law immediately said YES!!!!  So that is what I am making.   My sister had the recipe so she emailed it to me.   I tweaked it a tiny bit (a lot less black pepper than mama used, fresh mushrooms instead of sliced, a can of bamboo shoots, she didn't drain the canned vegetables, I do to cut down on sodium).     But I did want to share this recipe.     "Real" Chinese it isn't, but tasty it is.   And for me and siblings, it brings back those days of innocence when we were all young and excited about mama making something exotic.   Enjoy!

Mother’s Chop Suey

1 pound cubed lean beef
1 pound cubed lean pork
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cups diced celery
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. bead molasses
4 cups water or broth (I used unsalted vegetable stock)

In a large Dutch oven, brown the meats in a small amount of oil, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the meat is tender.   Then add the following:

2 cans drained bean sprouts
1 can drained sliced water chestnuts
1 can drained sliced bamboo shoots
1 small jar diced pimentos

Heat all together until boiling.   Thicken to taste with a slurry of cornstarch and water.    Serve with either rice of chow mein noodles.