Warm up in cold weather with Raymond Burr's chili recipe

The official chili of defense attorneys everywhere.

Newspaper columnist Johna Blinn had a rather unique syndicated series that profiled celebrities and their recipes. It was a popular read in the 1970s. These recipes of the stars were later collected in her 1981 Celebrity Cookbook

One of those recipes happened to be a chili from the kitchen of Raymond Burr. Yes, Perry Mason himself loved his spicy stew.

Here's the recipe, reprinted from Recipes for Rebels:


1 1/2 lbs ground round steak

2 large onions, diced

2 tbsp. Wesson oil (or another vegetable oil)

1 lb. dried red beans

1 chunk, salt pork

1 20 oz. can (or 2 1/2 cups) canned tomatoes

1/2–3/4 tsp. chili powder, to taste

• In a large pan, add beans with enough water to cover by 1 inch and cook along with salt pork until beans are tender. Add water as necessary, and then let the water boil down until soup is thick.

• Saute ground beef in oil, along with onions and chili powder until done.

• Add beef to beans, along with the can of tomatoes. Continue cooking for 2 hours or more at very low heat. This produces a sweet, succulent chili like you have never tasted before. Better the second day.

If you do decide to make it, let us know how it is!

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MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
I use canned beans instead of dried and usually use ground chicken now. And it is definitely better the next day.
DedraKayeDeHart 34 months ago
Raymond Burr loved to cook in real life. In fact in "Ironside" this was his go-to meal. Sort of like Matlock and his hot dogs. Love all of them.
Kelley1 36 months ago
I do make mine quite similar. I've never added pork though. Sounds like it may resemble Brunswick Stew (I say you wouldn't have to use dried beans, just use canned and simmer awhile, stirring frequently). However, my recipe also calls for tomato sauce, which I sometimes substitute with tomato soup if I have some that needs to be eaten. I also use a pack of chili seasoning instead of so much chili powder as we can't eat anything more than a medium heat level at my house. However it sounds like I'd have enjoyed dinner at his house.
PriceGrisham 40 months ago
Are the tomatoes drained, or put in with the juice? Suggest respectfully that that detail should be included in an edit. (Also, adding the chili before the liquid allows it to "bloom" and intensifies the flavor, but I think most people could use the larger amount of chili powder.)
TimothyJohnForbes 49 months ago
I tried it, and had to add in 1½ jalapenos to spice it up. It still wasn't that spicy, but it was really excellent, and it lasted me 3-4 days!!! I plan to make more of it, next time with the Carroll Shelby chili powder mix, and when the weather is colder here in Massachusetts.
Jeffrey 50 months ago
for me I knew it was for the gringos :) I need heat in my chili but tried it and loved it,,,I can have chili even in July and August up here in the Midwest
MichaelGreene Jeffrey 39 months ago
Jeffrey, Chili is as Mexican as Chop Suey is Chinese. Chili was a creation of German immigrants in New Braunfels, TX. (The place still had German influences as late as 2011...part of the name of the local fishwrap is "Zeitung", and its masthead used Gothic-styled lettering.) Now, don't knock me about chili...I can go for it as well as the next guy(though I prefer mine over rice). Now, if I mentioned the part suggesting salt pork to my cardiologist, the cardiologist might have a heart attack!
Coraline 53 months ago
1/2 teaspoon of 'chili powder'? So this is just a bean & hamburger soup?
boogerdogger Coraline 53 months ago
3/4 teaspoon?..........Stand Back!!
Coraline boogerdogger 53 months ago
I make my own chili powder & use 2-3 tablespoons of it when I make chili.
MarkSpeck 53 months ago
It wasn't just Perry Mason that loved chili...Ironside, Burr's later character, also sang the praises of chili, claiming in one early episode that it had 'all the ingredients needed to sustain life'.
Srick MarkSpeck 53 months ago
Ironside's fondness for chili is what came to mind as soon as I saw the title of this article. He also insisted that his chili pot, which was apparently reserved for preparing only that food, was not to be washed.
RobCertSDSCascap 53 months ago
You lost me at beans.
I think there is some soaking process you're supposed to go through with dried beans before cooking them in this manner. Some substance in them that can upset your stomach unless it gets rinsed out.
Thank you, but I only meant I never eat chili that has beans.
It's a toxin found in most dried beans, but most pronounced in red kidney beans. The soaking process doesn't directly affect that toxin, it mostly affects the softness of the beans when cooked. The beans have to be heated above the boiling point for at least 10 minutes (but preferably 30 minutes) to break down the toxin and render it safe. This is why it is unsafe to cook kidney beans in a slow cooker from start to finish - it never gets hot enough. Even if you want to do the main cooking in the slow cooker, soak and then boil the beans for 10-30 first.

And no, this isn't an "internet legend". You can look it up in the US Food & Drug Administrations "Bad Bug Book" https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborne-pathogens/bad-bug-book-second-edition Page 254
daDoctah 53 months ago
You might have to explain "chili size" in that picture for the benefit of people not from California.
Kathleen daDoctah 53 months ago
I think it or they are 4.4 to 7.2 oz (ounces) depending on your family
ramekins come in different sizes
daDoctah Kathleen 53 months ago
A "chili size" is an open-face hamburger on rye toast topped with chili. The "size" part refers to the amount of chili used for this dish, different from what you'd get if you just ordered a cup or bowl of chili.
Kathleen daDoctah 53 months ago
Thanks for the heads up
boogerdogger daDoctah 53 months ago
I used to get a Spaghetti Size at Bob's Big Boy in Pocatello when I was young. Basically spaghetti topped with chili (no beans), cheese and onions. Yummmie!
Oh. I think you mean "Cincinnati Chili".
A dish best served hot, here in the wilds of southern Ohio.
texasluva 53 months ago
Columbo- Ah I gotta just say.....I really enjoyed your cases Mr Mason. My wife she just loves you.
Perry Mason-You can come work for me anytime. I have a job opening since Paul has left us
Columbo- You don't say. Wow if my wife finds out I am starting today.
Perry Mason-In the mean time I want to share this recipe with you. My famous Chili recipe
Columbo- I am just ....so ecstatic and when the Mrs. sees your Chili recipe.... she'll flip. I can't thank you enough Mr Mason.
Perry Mason- In the mean time talk it over with her and get back to me.
Columbo- I am so .....humbled over your offer Mr. Mason. I will certainly get right back to you.
Perry Mason- Just one thing I would like to say Columbo.
Columbo- What's that?
Perry Mason- Please put out that cigar
jholton30062 texasluva 53 months ago
Very good, although I don't know if Perry would object to Columbo's cigar, since he smoked himself, as did Paul Drake...
Ilovelalaw jholton30062 50 months ago
True, they both smoked cigarettes (I never saw any episodes where either Perry or Paul smoked cigars or, at least, I can't remember them ever doing it) but those cigars are a completely different story. I absolutely despise smoking (it killed my mother and at least one, if not both, of her late brothers.) Some cigars might not smell too bad, at least at first. But there are cigars are really, really stinky.
jholton30062 Ilovelalaw 49 months ago
And I would imagine that the cigars Columbo smoked were especially stinky.
Becca22 texasluva 30 months ago
Oops, looks like they cut to commercial break a bit early! Here's the rest of that segment:

Columbo: Oh! Oh, *I'M* sorry, I didn't— I'll put it out. I should never have brought it in here, sir, sorry, it's a nasty habit, my wife's always trying to get me to quit... here. *puts out cigar* I'm so sorry about that.
Perry Mason: That's alright. It's just that Della is a little allergic to smoke. Think nothing more of it.
Columbo: Thank you, sir. And I can't wait to tell my wife about the job, she'll be so thrilled! Just thrilled!

Perry Mason: So, I'll hear from you later.

Columbo: Yes, sir. Thank you sir. Well, goodbye! *nods, waves and smiles, goes to door, exits*

Perry Mason sits at desk, reaches for some papers...

*sound of door opening*

Columbo: Ah, just one more thing, sir...
[Perry Mason, unlike all those nervous killers, isn't irritated at all]. "Yes, what is it?
Columbo: I was just wondering, sir, it was sorta BOTHering me... I just have to ask you...
Perry Mason: Yes? What is it?
Columbo: Uhhhhh, when you say "chunk of salt pork", is it like— I mean I don't know about these things *runs hands through hair*... my wife knows this stuff but I wouldn't even know where to begin, but I just wanted to make sure?.... *scratches head* Uhhhh, what exactly is a chunk? Is it like 2 pounds, 3 ounces or what? I'm not really a kitchen guy.

*zoom to close-up of Mason's face, puzzled, pensive, surprised*
Perry Mason: You know, I've never thought about that... Della—
Della Street: Yes, Perry?
Perry Mason- Della, get Paul on the phone…
*music crescendos dramatically*

*cut to Lerner and Rowe commercial*
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