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

The Perry Mason star would have gotten along with Columbo quite well.

When you think "chili" and "classic crime television," the first name that comes to mind is Columbo. Peter Falk's character loved to eat the stuff. But as far as making a big pot of chili? Leave that to Perry Mason.

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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DedraKayeDeHart 2 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 4 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 8 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 17 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 18 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 8 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 21 months ago
1/2 teaspoon of 'chili powder'? So this is just a bean & hamburger soup?
boogerdogger Coraline 21 months ago
3/4 teaspoon?..........Stand Back!!
Coraline boogerdogger 21 months ago
I make my own chili powder & use 2-3 tablespoons of it when I make chili.
MarkSpeck 21 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 21 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 21 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.
daDoctah 21 months ago
You might have to explain "chili size" in that picture for the benefit of people not from California.
Kathleen daDoctah 21 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 21 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 21 months ago
Thanks for the heads up
boogerdogger daDoctah 21 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 21 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 21 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 18 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 17 months ago
And I would imagine that the cigars Columbo smoked were especially stinky.
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