Hamburger Chow Mein: A Family Recipe

Whenever I mention this recipe to friends, I always get the strangest looks.

And it's true.  Hamburger isn't something you'd normally find in chow mein.  In fact, it sounds down right weird.

But before you turn your nose up at this unconventional paring of ingredients, let me just say that this is one of my favorite meals.  My mom's been making it since I was a kid and I still cook it regularly.  While many things I loved in the '80s and '90s have lost their charm on me, this recipe tastes just as good now as it did growing up.

It's a very American recipe, having little resemblance to Asian cooking other than the fact that it uses a bit of soy sauce and a can of chow mein vegetables.  Oh, and we usually serve it over rice.  But seriously, with condensed soup, stewed tomatoes, and a pound of ground beef, how can you not call this American cooking?

My mom found this recipe about 30 years ago on the label of a can of chow mein vegetables, but after a few modifications and all these years, I'm calling it a family recipe.  And it's simple and fast to make--two things I love when it comes to cooking.

Here is the hamburger chow mein simmering on the stove:

And here it is over a bed of rice with a sprinkle of chow mein noodles and a side of oven-roasted broccoli:

I hope you'll give this recipe a try in spite of it's oddness because I really do love it.  This is straight-up comfort food in my household.


Hamburger Chow Mein
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce {I use the lower sodium version}
1 can (10.5 ounces) condensed tomato soup
1 cup beef broth {again, I use low sodium} or water
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes, diced

1 can (14 ounces) chow mein or chop suey vegetables {such as La Choy brand}

Cooked rice
Chow mein noodles

Directions:  In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onions.  Once meat is browned, stir in flour.  Then add salt, pepper, soy sauce, soup, broth (or water), and tomatoes.  Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until desired thickness.  If mixture becomes too thick, add a little more water.  At the end, stir in chow mein vegetables and cook until heated through.  Serve over rice and sprinkle with chow mein noodles, or just serve over chow mein noodles instead.  Serves 4-6.