Slumgullion

When I posted my menu for the week, the big question was “What’s slumgullion?

This is slumgullion:

Well, one version, anyway.

I didn’t grow up eating this. It is, however, the food of my misspent hippychick starving-student days, when cheap and easy were the orders of the day.

I remember it started as boredom with cheap mac and cheese. I added some tomato soup to a batch of mac and cheese, and my own version of slumgullion was born. I didn’t call it that at the time, but a few years later, I found that this soupy mixture of macaroni, tomatoes, and often some kind of protein (TVP, cheese, whatever) had a name. And a fun name it is!

Most of the versions I found online share a base of macaroni, browned ground meat, and some kind of tomatoey sauce, but the variations are endless, and even those basics are negotiable: I saw slumgullion recipes that included potatoes instead of pasta, ones that were baked with cheese, and one of my commenters remembers hot dogs and scrambled eggs in hers.

The thing that makes this slumgullion and not just noodles with tomato sauce is the consistency, I think. It’s soupier than mac and cheese, but not quite soupy enough to be, well, soup.

Most commonly when I was in college, it ended up being mac and cheese, some kind of tomato product (tomato soup, canned tomatoes, or salsa), and occasionally something else for texture (onions or peas or Morningstar Crumbles or whatever). When I stopped being a vegetarian, I sometimes added ground meat, but it’s not necessary for me.

Today’s was a little foofier, chiefly because I’ve been adding veggies to EVERYthing, and this was no exception.

I pan-roasted some onions and cauliflower florets with olive oil, sea salt, and plenty of garlic, then tossed in a large handful of mustard greens and a cup or so of dry TVP. While the cauliflower was cooking, I boiled a pot of macaroni, then added it and a can of diced tomatoes to the veggie mixture. It was a little dull, so I dumped in some grated Parmesan. The end.

Tasty, simple, cheap. My three best friends.

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6 thoughts on “Slumgullion”

  1. I’ve been really into this sort of tomato stew-ish stuff for the past week or so, just dumping a big can of fire-roasted tomatoes into a pot with garlic, onions, mushrooms, spices, noodles and letting it cook away for a while. I think I’ll have some of the leftovers for breakfast now.

  2. Ah! The perfect comfort food! I never realized this type of dish had a name and my mother-in-law made a similar version with potatoes – putting pretty much whatever she had on hand in it and it was always delicious! Your version looks and sounds so good and with the greens added has the perfect balance. Thanks for telling us about slumgullion!
    Elaine recently posted..BAKED Sunday Morning- Malted Crisp Tart

  3. Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most simple of foods can hold the fondest memories? My aunt and godmother, long passed on now, used to make me shell noodles with tomato soup, cheese, and cracked black pepper. She didn’t think it was much of anything, but I thought it was special! Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend.
    Mary at Deep South Dish recently posted..Hash Brown Quiche with Andouille Sausage

  4. Serene, I have never heard of this dish, but remembeer eating something similar when I first got to the U.S. My ex sister-in-law used to make it with Mac-and-Cheese, ground meat, and Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup. It was not my favorite, but it was comforting and better than Burger King!
    I think I would prefer your version with no meat, but with lots of veggies (and I am not a veteraian:) I bet my kids would love it, and not only for the name:)

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