In 1918, World War I was raging. There were food shortages, and the U.S. government was shipping wheat and other foodstuffs to the troops in Europe. To help cooks on the home front use “conservation as far as possible of food which can be sent abroad,” the Kansas State Council of Defense published One-Dish Meals.
The booklet is filled with lots of intriguing recipes, but the recipe that grabbed my attention was one for Chop Suey. It bore little resemblance to the typical chop suey recipe. The recipe called for ground beef, sausage, tomatoes, onions, and celery – and not for any of the usual bean spouts, bamboo shoots, or soy sauce. That said, this recipe was delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.
I would like to thank ResearchBuzz for alerting me to the Kansas State Council of Defense cookbook (and to a number of other publications ranging from Silos in Wartime to Use of Wheat-Saving Cereals).
Here’s the original recipe:
And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Kansas - Style Chop Suey
1/3 pound bulk breakfast-style (farmer) sausage
2/3 pound ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups chopped tomatoes (or use 1 lb. can of tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
4 cups cooked rice (or more, if you like lots of rice)
Brown sausage and ground beef in a skillet using medium heat. Add, green pepper, onions, and celery; cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low; simmer gently for one-half hour. Remove from heat, and serve over rice.
I used less salt than called for in the original recipe, and it turned out just fine. I also thought that the original recipe called for very little rice, so I made more.