Stop press!  James Garner’s daughter Gigi got in touch via Twitter about this recipe.  She thinks it may be her grandfather’s recipe rather than her father’s.  I am devastated!  I knew JG was a judge for the National Chili Championships so assumed that this recipe (published in several newspapers in the 1980s) with his name attached was his.  I’ve got this book on order to see if there is more information within – will keep you posted…

Stop press 2 – see James Garner’s Sooner Chili post for more info!

chili cookbook

Was it the honey or was it the margarine?  Whatever it was, this was not only the best chili I have ever made, it was the best chili I have ever eaten.  And that is saying something because like Lieutenant Columbo, I LOVE eating chili.  Home made, store made, Mexican restaurant made. Whatever, whenever, whomsoever…  Even though I am confused by the spelling variations of chili, chilli and chile – I love it.

It was a momentous day on Wednesday.  The last episode of season one of The Rockford Files was screened on the DVD projector.  Me and the Vicster have been watching these one by one for the last few months and the decision had to be made.  Would we continue and pledge to watch the whole 122 episodes plus 8 TV movies or would we choose another iconic cop/PI show to watch?

I made James’s Chili to help us decide.  The ladies at work were dubious about his recipe but Vic agreed with my verdict and said, “this is terrific!”  He later said “I have to say that this chilli is the best chilli I ever had.  Worth losing your trousers over.” which is a joke about our favourite Rockford Files episode where Jim loses his trousers….

So basically, even though I have film star recipes for chili from the following: Ann Sheridan, Barton Maclane, Bobby Howes, Bonita Granville Buddy Hackett, Carol Lawrence, Charles Ruggles, Felix Mills, Foster Brooks, Gene Autry, George Raft, Harry Lauter, Hugh Herbert, Joanne Dru Wood, Katharine Ross, Kathryn Grayson, Mabel Normand, Mickey Rooney, Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, Raymond Burr, Richard Arlen, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Victor McLaglan, Warner Baxter, Will Rogers and Vincent Price (of course), I feel like I will only ever want to make this one.

I laughed looking back at a blog post about my previous favourite film star’s chili – Richard Arlen’s Chili Con Carne – because it reminded me that when I started this project in 2006 I really couldn’t cook at all.  The stars have taught me to cook and that is a FACT.  I thought red peppers in a chili recipe were the nice fat red peppers aka bell peppers aka capsicums.  So now at least I know that James means yellow chili peppers even though I couldn’t get my hands on any of those.  I chose the yellowist red chili I could find in Morrisons…

As usual after a Rockford Files where I often lose the plot, at the end of the episode Vic said: “Did you understand it?” and I said “Nope!” But we have decided to continue and watch every episode plus the TV movies.  If we have chili every time that will mean 108 more opportunities to eat this perfectly balanced bowl of meaty, margeriney, honeyed goodness.  Thanks James, your chili is the best!

James Garner's Oklahoma Chili

3 lbs ground chuck / beef mince
2 medium onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 hot, yellow chili peppers, chopped
2 cans(16 oz ea) whole tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 lb margarine
1 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce

Brown meat lightly in a skillet and transfer to a large pot.
Saute onions and peppers in skillet and add them to meat.
Saute tomatoes and add them to meat mixture. Add remaining
ingredients; blend well. Simmer 3 hours in covered pot,
stirring often.

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