Guess who was the highfalutin cook of my family when I was growing up? Me. I stayed busy whipping up French dishes a la Julia Child or concocting chili-laden Chinese stir-fries.
My mother was more than happy to stay out of the kitchen, but she was a very good basic cook. Her fried fish, shrimp scampi and this homey slumgullion were among her classics.
Slumgullion is said to be old Gold Rush slang for stews made from leftovers, according to The New Food Lover's Companion. My mother always started hers fresh. The recipe was almost always the same: green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, ground beef and elbow macaroni. Also a requisite: a separate bowl of buttered macaroni just for me.
Bill Daley writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis. Slumgullion
Serves 6 -- Total time: 47 minutes
1 1/2 cups macaroni
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper
Heat a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook macaroni according to package instructions until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add green pepper and onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion browns slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet; set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet; add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet; set aside.
Add the rest of the oil and then the garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the ground beef. Cook, stirring often, until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain fat, if necessary.
Add the tomatoes to the skillet; heat to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; add peppers, onions, mushrooms, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes cook down slightly, about 20 minutes. Stir in the macaroni. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Per serving: 325 calories, 13 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 47 milligrams cholesterol, 33 grams carbohydrate, 20 grams protein, 302 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber
MENU Slumgullion; romaine lettuce hearts with shaved parmesan; Italian bread; coffee ice cream