Cooking With Columbo | The Johnny Cash Chili Bowl Cook-along

Cooking with Columbo20 February marks the 50th anniversary of Prescription Murder – the first pilot episode of Columbo, the US murder mystery series starring Peter Falk as the raincoat-wearing sleuth that ended up running for 10 seasons until 2004. And what better way to celebrate than with the launch of a fantastic new culinary tome from Silver Screen Suppers’ Jenny Hammerton, the author of the Cooking with Joan Crawford Cookbook.

Cooking with Columbo: Suppers with the Shambling Sleuth is a treasury of 100 recipes, collected from Peter and his many co-stars, served up episode by episode alongside a selection of tasty side dishes and kitchen tested tips.

To accompany the book’s release, Jenny has been hosting the Columbo Bowl Chili Cook-Along (which ends on 20 February and everyone is invited to join in so check it out here), in which foodie fans are whipping up a chili dish based on a recipe by country and western star Johnny Cash (he was the guest in the 1974 episode Swan Song).

Chili was a big favourite of Columbo’s; although he got quite the surprise when Johnny’s version in the episode turned out to be made from squirrel meat. Thankfully Jenny asked everyone to either use beef (or try out the vegetarian version) for the cook-along. I opted for the former and you can see the results that I made live for the cook-along in the video below. Plus, I’ve included the recipe at the bottom on this post.

So what’s the Vincent Price link? Well, not only was Vinnie a big foodie himself (and the author of a number of cookbooks), he was also one of the many guest stars and appeared in Lovely But Lethal alongside Vera Miles, whose recipe appears in the book. Jenny has kindly provided that extract and I’ll be doing a post real soon.

In the meantime, here’s Johnny’s Chili recipe – and as it calls for beer as one of the ingredients, I have of course used a bottle of Hopdaemon’s Vincent Price Ale: Black Cat.

Johnny Cash ChiliJohnny Cash’s Chili
1 lb / 450g ground/minced venison (if available) or ground/minced beef (chuck or sirloin)
1/2 lb / 225g venison steaks (if available) or beef steaks, such as sirloin, or a rump roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon canola/rapeseed oil
24 oz / 680g canned tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
1/2 large red bell pepper
2.5 jalapeño peppers (optional)
1/2 habanero pepper (optional)
1 packet McCormick’s Mild Chili Seasoning Mix (or your favorite brand)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup / 32g chili powder (New Mexico chili powder if available)
1/6 cup / 21g cumin
1/2 tablespoon sage
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
15 oz / 400g can black beans, drained
15 oz / 400g can pinto beans, drained
15 oz / 400g can chili beans/kidney beans in chili sauce
12 oz / 340g can kidney beans, drained*
6 oz / 170ml beer
1/8 cup / 25g sugar
A handful of self-rising cornmeal*

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the steak in the oil in batches, draining off some of the fat if necessary. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a separate frying pan, brown the ground meat over medium-high heat. Drain off the fat and set meat aside.

With the oil remaining in the pot, brown half the onions and garlic over medium heat until they are caramelized. Now add the well-drained ground beef and steak. Stir and heat it all up. Add the cans of tomatoes, the bell peppers, hot peppers (if using), and the remainder of the onions and garlic. Heat to a brisk simmer, stirring often.

John Carter Cash says that his dad would normally add the spices in the following order, first the chili packet, followed by some salt and black pepper, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, and cayenne pepper. John advises tasting the chili and once the spicing it is to your liking, drain the cans of beans and add to the mixture. Now taste again, as the beans mellow the flavor of the chili. Once the chili is to your taste, pour in the bottle of beer. Stir well. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar to your taste. Simmer, covered, for at least another 30 minutes, making sure to stir so the chili does not burn. Now add the cornmeal and stir in.

* If self-rising cornmeal is unavailable, you can make it yourself. Just combine 1 cup / 120g of cornmeal, 1/3 cup / 40g all-purpose/plain flour, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Put the leftover mix in a sealed container and save for your next batch of Johnny Cash chili.
Serves 6








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Silver Screen Suppers on… Cooking with Vincent Price

Recipe Corner

As well being an accomplished actor and an art expert and lecturer, Vincent Price was also passionate about food. As his daughter Victoria says in her lectures on her dad, ‘He loved to eat’.


Along with his second wife, Mary (Victoria’s mum), Vincent published the acclaimed gourmet tome, A Treasury of Great Recipes, in 1965, which brought together recipes collected from the kitchens of 35 American restaurants (including the Four Seasons, Galatoire’s and Locke-Ober) and eight European countries, plus several dozen of the Price’s own unpretentious favourites, including two for hot dogs. This glorious tome got a sumptuous reprint in 2015 by Dover Press.

ComeIn 1969, the couple also released their Come Into the Kitchen Cook Book, which was devoted to the heritage of American cuisine, from the early pioneer settlers to the Victorian era. This was reprinted many times, with different covers, as well as in a five-volume series which was retitled A National Treasury of Cookery.

Cooking Price Wise

In the six-part 1971 Thames TV series Cooking Price-Wise, Vincent invited viewers to ‘travel round the word using your cooker instead of a jet plane’, and shared his experiences of international cuisine, preparing such delicacies as Moroccan tajine, the American Ice Box Cake and Fish Fillets Noord Zee. These recipes and a host more were published in a paperback that is much sought-after today.

This page is dedicated to Vincent’s favourite recipes and is hosted by Jenny Hammerton, who runs the Silver Screen Suppers website. Just click on the recipe title, where you will be taken to the host page.

Vincent Price’s Bounty of Paradise Party: Sampling the delights from Vincent’s International Cooking Course LP
Cooking Price-Wise – Fish Fillets Noord Zee: Try Vincent’s Dutch delicacy

All around the world, people love eating and drinking like Vincent Price, here’s a round up of links to other blog posts that celebrate Vincent’s favourite recipes.

Treasury • An appreciation of Vincent’s food writing by Kimberly Lindbergs – In the Kitchen With Vincent Price – includes the recipe for Souffle Pudding Pierre.

• Dr Bobb made Pineapple Nut Loaf and Poularde Pavillon (Chicken in Champagne Sauce) even crushing the mushrooms with a rolling pin as directed by Vincent –

A Slash and Dine Toast to Vincent Price includes the recipe and photographs of the Dark Mocha Cake made by Nicole and Megan – it looks delicious!

• Greg Swenson, author of the Recipes For Rebels James Dean cookbook wrote a great piece about Vincent’s love of Sardi’s restaurant and his post includes the recipe for Cheese Knots –

Granny Pantries had a go at the Blueberry Muffins A La Postada and suggested adding a little vanilla to the recipe –

• Over at the Vincent Price Mania blog, two recipes were sampled. First, an all time top favourite in the Silver Screen Suppers Kitchen, Mexican Creamed Corn – Plus one I haven’t tried yet, Old Fashioned Bread Pudding –

• The lovely Annie at Kitchen Counter Culture turned to her battered and much loved Treasury for the Gateau Grand Marnier recipe –

• Lauren from The Past On a Plate made Blueberry Muffins A La Postada and Ranch Eggs – what a lovely brunch!

• Miriam Figueras bravely tackled Souffle Au Grand Marnier with excellent results –

• Yinzerella from the superlative Dinner Is Served 1972 blog made Vincent Price’s Bloody Mary & Bookbinder’s Snapper Soup

• Tracy of Tracy’s Vintage Corner made a delicious-looking Old Fashioned Bread Pudding

• Super stylish blogger Ruth, from Mid-Century Menu made something I’ve wanted to try for ages, Crab Puffs –

• In Canada, Lisa from Brain Meets Keys put together a spectacular brunch, trying out three recipes from the Treasury in one go! Blueberry Muffins a la Posada, Buckingham Eggs and Champignons Marie-Victoire

• Battenburg Belle took the Treasury all the way to France and made Caesar Salad, Sea Bream Biscay Style and Petits Pois a la Francaise

• Taryn from Retro Food for Modern Times made Chicken in Champagne Sauce – and Buckingham Eggs as a JAFFLE –

Cooking Price Wise_Ad_TVT_crop

• Nathalie Morris from the British Film Institute and yours truly demonstrate how to make Vincent Price Goulash



• Clara from Heritage Recipe Box rustled up a New Fashioned Cocktail



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