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carole lombard 06

A famed recipe to keep you chili

Posted by vp19 on 2011.01.22 at 09:55
Current mood: hungryhungry

Earlier this week, we discussed the ties between Carole Lombard and Alfred Hitchcock, who's shown with her and Robert Montgomery on the set of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." And it's appropriate this is from a scene at a restaurant, because that's the angle of today's entry.

According to Robby Cress in his fine blog "Dear Old Hollywood" (http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/), when Hitchcock arrived in Hollywood in 1939, Lombard and Clark Gable took him to dinner at Chasen's on Beverly Boulevard, a restaurant less than three years old at the time but already a favorite of the film community. Hitch and his wife became regulars at the restaurant, usually on Thursdays. While I'm hardly surprised to discover that Lombard had dined at Chasen's, this was the first definite link I'd seen.

Chasen's, founded by ex-vaudevillian Dave Chasen -- a good friend of director Frank Capra -- had a star-studded (and loyal) clientele, ranging from George Burns and Gracie Allen to Ronald Reagan (the future president proposed to Nancy Davis at a Chasen's booth) and James Stewart. However, as time went on, it became increasingly less trendy, and it closed in April 1995. Here's the interior of the place as it looked in June 1987:

Chasen's menu had many favorites, but it was perhaps most renowned for its chili; its adherents were legion. In fact, while in Rome filming "Cleopatra" in 1962, Elizabeth Taylor spent $100 to have it shipped to her (encased in dry ice). I have no idea whether Lombard ever had Chasen's chili, but while the restaurant may be long gone, the recipe lives on, and you can replicate this famous dish in your own home.

1/2 pound dried pinto beans
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 pounds beef chuck, coarsely chopped
1 pound pork shoulder, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup Gebhardt's chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons 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 and let stand one hour. Drain off liquid.
2. Rinse beans again. Add enough fresh water to cover beans. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour or until tender.
3. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Simmer five minutes. 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. 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.
4. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for one hour. Uncover and cook 30 minutes more or to desired consistency. Chili shouldn't be too thick -- it should be somewhat liquid but not runny like soup. Skim off excess fat and serve.

Makes 10 cups, or six main dish servings.

It's delectable just looking at it, a dish that could really warm you up. One wonders if Carole brought some by for Clark on that cool June evening in '38 when he was filming "Too Hot To Handle." (If so, I hope there was some left over for Myrna Loy and the others on hand.)


tommy50702 at 2014-11-20 10:16 (UTC) (Link)
Great story and your recipe looks delicious!
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