Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Liz Taylor's favorite chili (via Nora Ephron)

It's been one of those days. I've had the confidence beaten out of me with a big stick. So today, while the painters painted my wall pink, yes magenta pink, I moved furniture, hung pictures, cleaned closets and made flapjacks and chili. Not just any chili, Chasen's Chili -- the most fabulous chili in the world, the chili that Elizabeth Taylor had flown in to Rome in 1962 on dry ice so that she could taste it while she was filming Cleopatra -- using Nora Ephron's recipe. I'm rather a fan of Nora Ephron at the moment, and not just because I've been living through Heartburn. She also made the marvellous "Julie & Julia" and is a big fan of mashed potatoes. Hence this from "Heartburn":

Nothing like mashed potatoes when you're feeling blue. Nothing like getting into bed with a bowl of hot mashed potatoes already loaded with butter, and methodically adding a thin cold slice of butter to every forkful. The problem with mashed potatoes, though, is that they require almost as much hard work as crisp potatoes, and when you're feeling blue the last thing you feel like is hard work. Of course, you can always get someone to make the mashed potatoes for you, but let's face it: the reason you're blue is that there isn't anyone to make them for you. As a result, most people do not have nearly enough mashed potatoes in their lives, and when they do, it's almost always at the wrong time.
And here is her recipe for Chasen's chili:

Makes 10 to 12 servings
servings: 10-12 people


2 pounds ground chuck, ground big if possible
1 pound ground pork
red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
3 cups chopped onion
2 cloves smashed garlic
3 TB oil
1 stick butter
1 35 oz.can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 15 oz. cans pinto beans
2/3 cup chili powder
2 TB cumin
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper


Drain beans and rinse. Put into a large casserole with the can of tomatoes. (Remove basil if there's basil.) Heat for a few minutes.

Heat oil and gently cook peppers. When soft add onions and gently cook. Add garlic for a minute or so. Add all to tomatoes.

Melt half the butter and cook the beef and pork until no longer raw. Add spices and stir. Add to the tomato mixture and add the rest of the butter. Cook about thirty to forty five minutes, covered, over low heat.

Serve with sour cream, with grated cheddar, with some chopped cilantro, some finely chopped white onion, perhaps some thinly sliced jalapenos if you're feeling saucy.

I am.


Janelle said...

adore your blog. always a journey. a treat in store. so heartfelt. just one thing, what is a "ground chuck"? it can't possibly be a squirrel? love from an African who loves chili. x ps: the best chili this side of the sea is akabanga. it comes from rwanda and it'll blow yer socks off.

Miss Whistle said...

@Janelle, ground chuck is short for ground chuck steak, ie a lower grade of beef...but you can use anything. Even squirrel. Also ground turkey works well if you don't like red meat. Good luck & thanks.

Lickedspoon said...

It's astonishing the regularity with which I turn to mashed potato or Nora Ephron, sometimes both, when I'm feeling low. They both make everything just a little bit better. As do magenta walls. May you enjoy all three with gusto. x

Janelle said...

@Miss W! aHA. gotcha. thanks! and thanks for swinging by.x

LucyLean said...

I will take the time to make you mashed potato and Chasen's chili because that's just the way I am - in return you have to promise to make me rhubarb crumble with custard next time I'm feeling blue xxx