Chasen's Chili -
Beans, Beef, Breads, Main Courses - meat, Pork

Chasen’s Chili and Cornbread

Chili can be a very controversial dish. Some people wouldn’t dream of putting beans in it, where as others will omit the meat entirely and make it vegetarian. Some want it scorching hot from the peppers put in, others prefer it mild. There are contests all over the place to determine the “best” chili. I am not going to tell you this is the “definitive” chili recipe. I will tell you this is what Ma’am and I make when we make chili, give or take a few changes along the way.

She got this photocopied recipe back in the 1970’s. Supposedly it is the same recipe used at the famous Chasen’s Restaurant in Hollywood, CA. I don’t know if this is the actual recipe they used, but I know it is a good one with modifications.

First, swap the butter for olive or canola oil. Save the butter for baking when you can actually taste it. And use less oil. You need very little oil (1 to 2 tablespoons) to keep the meat from sticking initially when you are browning it.

I usually do not use a 6:1 ratio of meat to beans, more like 2:1 or 1:1. I make this as an “eating” chili, so I want the beans in it. If it were making it as a chili to put on top of things (fries, hot dogs, etc.), I’d use the reduced amount of beans or omit them. But, that’s how I like it, do what you and your family likes.

You are welcome to use canned beans, or a quick soaking method if you don’t think about it the night before. Cover the beans in water, bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes then turn off the heat. Let them soak for 1-2 hours and then proceed with the recipe.

This recipe is very mild. Unless everyone likes it spicy, I’d recommend keeping it on the mild side and having a bottle of hot sauce handy for those that want to “kick it up a notch”.

As far as serving suggestions, well, I just can’t imagine eating this with anything other than cornbread. The cornbread recipe below can be made in a cake or pie pan or even muffin tins if you do not have a cast iron skillet. It’ll be good, just not have that thick brown crust on it that I grew up with. Weird, some people don’t like their cornbread that way, or they like it sweet, almost like a cake. To each his own.

Chasen’s Chili

Meal type Beans, Beef, Meat Dishes, Pork
Chili recipe supposedly from the famous Chasen's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA.


  • 1/2lb pinto beans
  • 5 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1lb green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salad oil
  • 1 1/2lb onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2lb beef chuck (course or chili grind)
  • 1 1/2lb lean ground pork
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed


This recipe is from 70's.  I have copied it here almost as it is written on the photo copy I received with a couple of edits to remove obvious name-brand references as well as to correct a few blatant grammatical errors.

From the famous Chasen's Restaurant in Hollywood's filmland comes this recipe for what has been regarded as the finest Chili every to simmer in a bubbling pot.  It's so highly regarded that many of the restaurant's regular patron from the film colony often have it delivered to their homes. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were so fond of it they had gallons dispatched to Rome when they were over there making "Cleopatra"....


Wash beans and soak covered in water overnight.
Simmer beans covered in water until tender. Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Sauté green pepper in salad oil 5 minutes. Add onion; cook until tender, stirring often.
Add garlic, parsley. Melt butter and sauté meat for 15 minutes. Add meat to onion mixture, stir in chili powder and cook 15 minutes. Add this to beans and add spices. Simmer covered for 1 hour. Cook uncovered 30 minutes. Skim fat from top.


Prep time10 minutes
Cook time25 minutes
Total time35 minutes
Meal type Bread
Simple cornbread recipe baked in a cast iron skillet for a nice crispy crust.


  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup flour ((all-purpose or whole wheat pastry))
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil (vegetable, canola)
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 400°. Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet in oven while it is preheating. When skillet is hot pour a small amount of vegetable oil (1-2 tablespoons) into skillet and "swirl" to coat evenly. Use a pastry brush or paper towel to assist in spreading oil evenly over bottom and sides of skillet. Or use cooking spray. Careful, the skillet is hot! Use a thick pot holder.

Or grease a large cake pan or muffin tins.
Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix well. Make a well in the top and add oil and egg. Stir or "whip" oil and egg together within the well using a fork. Blend all ingredients with a fork or large spoon in a circular motion until well mixed.
Add milk. Stir until all dry ingredients are moist. Do not over stir. Mixture should still be lumpy. Pour batter into oiled, heated skillet. Spread evenly with a fork, if necessary, to ensure the entire surface of the pan is evenly covered.
Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until done -- browned on top.

Until next time, happy eating

3 thoughts on “Chasen’s Chili and Cornbread”

  1. Sounds delicious! I love chili and now is the time to start making some. I love heat, so what I like about this is I can share it and just had heat to mine. Thank you.

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