Restaurant Recipes

Chasen's Famous Chili

Liz Taylor had it shipped to every set for lunch - that's how popular Chasen's chili has been with the Hollywood set.

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Prep: 20 min | Cook: 1 hr 30 min | Yield: serves many


  • 1/2 pound dried pinto beans
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomatoes
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, coarsely chopped*
  • 1 pound pork shoulder, coarsely chopped*
  • 1/3 cup Gebhardt's chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Farmer Brothers ground cumin**


  1. Rinse the beans, picking out debris. Place beans in a Dutch oven with water to cover. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat. Cover with lid and let stand one hour. After one hour, drain off liquid and discard.
  2. Rinse beans again. Add just enough fresh water to cover the beans. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered, for one hour or until tender.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and their juice and let simmer five minutes.
  4. In a large skillet, saute bell pepper in oil for five minutes. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and parsley. Add mixture to bean mixture.
  5. Using the same skillet, melt the butter and saute beef and pork chuck until browned. Drain. Add to bean mixture along with the chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin.
  6. Bring mixture just to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour. Uncover and cook 30 minutes more or to desired consistency. Chili should not be too thick - it should be somewhat liquid but not runny like soup. Skim of excess fat and serve.


* Chasen's used the best beef chuck, center cut, trimmed completely of fat. The restaurant used a special meat grinder, but for the home cook, meat chopped into one-quarter to one-half-inch chunks is much better than ground meat for this chili.

** Sometimes cumin seed is used in place of the ground cumin. It is a matter of personal preference.

You can freeze this chili for several months. When reheating refrigerated leftover or frozen chili, add a few tablespoons of water to regain proper consistency.


Recipe source: Chasen’s – Where Hollywood Dined, by Betty Goodwin, published by Angel City Press, 1996

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