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Chasen's Chili Recipe

from my Moms favorite cookbook
1/2 lb pinto beans
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (coarse or chili grind)
1 lb ground lean pork
5 cups canned tomatoes
1 lb chopped green pepper
1 1/2 lb chopped onions
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup chili powder
2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 1/2 tsp MSG (Optional)
Wash beans, soak overnight in water. Simmer, covered, in same water until tender. Add tomato and simmer 5 minutes. saute green pepper in oil 5 minutes. add onions and cook till tender, stirring often. add garlic, parsley. Melt butter and saute meat for 15 minutes. Add meat to onion mixture, stir in chili powder and cook 10 minutes. Add this to beans and add spices. Simmer, covered for 1 hour. cook uncovered 30 minutes. Skim fat from top. tuck napkin under chin, DIG IN!

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  1. Hmm, this recipe looks familiar.
    Would the cookbook in question be 'The Chili Cookbook' by Johnrae Earl and James McCormick, pub. 1972? The recipe is in my copy...

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiveFan

      No it's from a Buddhist Church Cook Book.... Go Figure LOL

    2. I can definitely vouch for this chili. I've made it dozens of times. It also freezes well. Whether it is the actual one used by Chasen's is still disputed.

      My source for the recipe was a 1971 cookbook titled The L.A. Gourmet: Favorite Recipes from Famous Los Angeles Restaurants by Jeanne Voltz and Burks Hamner.

      Ms. Voltz was for many years a food writer and editor for Women's Day magazine. She also edited the food section of the Los Angeles Times.

      In 1996 another L.A. Times writer, Betty Goodwin authored a book titled Chasen's - Where Hollywood Dined. In it are a number of Chasen's recipes including the one for Chasen's chili. It is only slightly different from the one given here. You can find that recipe here:

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sam D.

        I happen to have the Betty Goodwin book right here.

        The recipe there varies from the one above in some small ways.

        This one is exactly the one from the book: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Soup/C...

        I ate at Chasens a number of times before it closed. For my money (and it did cost my money!) it was their Creamed Spinach that made me go yum.

      2. Jane Butel also included the recipe in her "Tex-Mex Cookbook" as an example of what can pass for REAL chili out in the benighted parts of the world. When she wrote that Elizabeth Taylor had buckets of it sent to the set of "Cleopatra," you could just see her rolling her eyes...

        I've never gotten around to making this, but it looks like it'd be an OK dish, "real" or not. Certainly better than my mom's chili, a thin hamburger-and-tomato soup with the chili powder added at the table!

        1. You can tell this is an old recipe.

          1) It uses a green pepper. It wasn't until, oh, the seventies or eighties that you could easily find red peppers. Before that, "bell pepper" and"green pepper" were the same thing. Betcha Chasen's would have used red ones if that were an option.

          2) It uses 1 whole stick of butter. You only need enough fat to keep the pan greased for sauteing purposes.

          3) It uses MSG

          4 Replies
            1. re: Sharuf

              1) I grew up eating red bell peppers, and this was considerably before the '70s. In smalltown Illinois, too, not some multicultural hot spot...though the fact that we often grew our own could've had something to do with it.

              2) Ain't it the truth! But of course Chasen's was a deluxe kind of place, and back in the days of its flourishing "deluxe" meant "rich."

              3) Which would have been considered very modern at the time!

              1. re: Will Owen

                Chasen's didn't start out deluxe... and the chili was it's first thing.

                When the chili was "invented", it was at a shack.

                "Opened in 1937 by owner Dave Chasen (at the suggestion of director Frank Capra), it was just a humble shack named "Chasen's Southern Pit " (because of a barbecue pit in the back); its chili quickly became popular with the show biz crowd, and Chasen's rapidly grew into Hollywood's premier restaurant. Chasen's stuck with the American/Continental fare that brought it success, serving it in a warm, clubby atmosphere of heavy wood paneling and red leather booths. They still served the chili that made them famous (although it wasn't listed on the menu anymore), as well as their hobo steak and deviled beef bones. In fact, when Elizabeth Taylor was making "Cleopatra " in Rome, she had their chili flown out to her."

                And it had NO MSG. ; )

                1. re: Jennalynn

                  Until it was mentioned here,I had failed to notice the addition of MSG in the recipe posted by the OP. But you are right. Chasen's recipe did NOT call for MSG. And even if someone were to add MSG, just a pinch or 2 would suffice. 1 1/2 tsp. would be ghastly.

            2. This is no more "chili" than I am.

              6 Replies
              1. re: ozhead

                Say what? This is pretty much standard American Chili -- ground meat, beans, tomato, onion, chili powder, plus your favorite secret ingredients. This is not related to the creations entered in the chili contest alternate universe.

                1. re: Sharuf

                  Forget about the "chili contest alternate universe" (though it IS a nice turn of phrase, and probably pretty accurate). Chili contains neither tomatoes nor beans, though it can be served WITH beans if the person eating it wants them. And no matter what other sacrilege might be committed in its name, chili never EVER contains butter. Butter?!?

                    1. re: ozhead

                      Around these parts (Bay Area), beef cooked in a chile sauce without tomatoes or beans is called "Chile Colorado".

                  1. re: ozhead

                    Where are you from Oz?
                    Where I am from, SE Texas, chili has neither beans or butter, but it is a regional thing like BBQ I think. I know folks in my neck of the woods that think pork is not, can not, be BBQ. Nothing could be further from the truth.
                    To each his own...

                    1. re: ozhead

                      I wholeheartedly agree with you. Any time I see BEANS in chili I want to cry.

                      Chili powder is not what I use because it is usually a mixture of salt, paprika, Mediterranean oregano instead of Mexican oregano (a verbena, not a mint), and cumin.

                      I use ground CHILE powder and/or fresh homegrown chile pods like serranos, cayennes, ghost peppers (bhut jolokia) and the like. No salt or ground black pepper go into the pot. Beef is cubed or sometimes shredded after braising instead of ground.

                    2. started my chili fixins yesterday with bean soakage (:) and beef grinding. now onto the rest of the prep-
                      I've stated before mom did this almost every year at their New Years Eve party....always licked clean

                      1. Too many ingredients for my taste, especially the beans and MSG. I'm a chili purist.