Food You Can Eat: Bob Hope’s “Bob’s Favorite Chicken Hash” and The Frugal Gourmet’s “Not Really Spanish Rice”

Thanks for the memories

Image via What ho! On the horizon! Is that Chicken Hash?!

For Bob’s Favorite Chicken Hash:

This is reprinted, most certainly without permission, from, where else, the Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook. It is the 6th recipe I’ve made from this gustatory bible (I made it for lunch) and it was so good I decided to pass it along. This serves 2.

1 fat chicken breast, halved, broiled, and “julienned.” This means you cut it into thin strips.

2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled. 

1/2 small onion, minced

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 tsp. lemon juice. I had a half lemon hanging out by the bar so I just squeezed the juice of that.

Some salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. sour cream

1 tsp. sherry. This is definitely optional. I didn’t use it because unlike Bob Hope I didn’t have any sherry at hand. Did you know that Bob Hope was born Lesley Townes Hope in London and lived to be 100? Maybe being a native Londoner explains why he would have sherry.

Combine everything but the sour cream (and sherry) in a bowl and then sauté it so everything heats up. I took this to mean that the butter melts and the onions “sweat” but do not brown. Bob then tells us to add the sour cream (and sherry) just before serving and warm but do not cook. Since I was making this for us to eat right then and there I turned off the heat and stirred in the sour cream. 

I let this cool for a little bit and split it between two bowls, with a tablespoon or three for The Faithful Hound’s kibble. It exceeded my expectations, so I thank you, so much, Bob.

For Not Really Spanish Rice:

Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet, started life as a trained and ordained Methodist minister. How he transitioned into his wildly popular PBS cooking series is a little unclear, at least to me. Alas, his career came to an ignominious end but before all this became public your parents or grandparents might have been frugally gourmeting themselves in the 1970s. His show actually lingered on until 1997.

This makes for a good meal unto itself. Warning: it’s very much of its time, but it’s pretty tasty. I’ve served it but I don’t go into detail about where it came from or what exactly is in it.

1 lb. hamburg[er; ground beef; lean to avoid extra greasiness]

1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 cup UNCLE BEN’S® rice, uncooked [Spon con alert, but that’s Jeff, not me]

1 cup water

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce [1 jar of decent store bought tomato sauce, maybe one with a little cheese in it]

1/2 tbsp. chili powder [I use more]

[1 tsp. garlic powder; my addition]

[These directions are mine, by the way.]

In a large skillet, cook the hamburger, onion, and green pepper. With a spatula break up the beef while it’s cooking and let this go until the beef is browned and the onion and the pepper have started to “sweat.” Add everything else and bring to a boil. This is why you use lean hamburger; you don’t drain the skillet. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce cooks down a bit and the rice puffs up and softens.



  1. Simple can be perfect, as can basic. I like basic.

    • Life’s simple pleasures are the best.

  2. Doesn’t a hash normally have potatoes in it? Or is that just breakfast hash?

    • Hash typically is potato-based, hash browns are basically nothing but potatoes, but there are non-potato variants, as Bob well knew. I used to go to a local diner and their corned beef hash was made without potatoes. I don’t really know why; it’s not like they were on some culinary cutting edge.

      I think it used to cover a lot more ground and was a way to fry up a bunch of leftovers. We have the phrase “to make a hash out of something,” which means to screw something up or make a mess of it.

    • I feel like hash often has potatoes in it because they’re an easy and cheap way to extend some leftovers into a meal.

      We’d have leftovers made into a hash sometimes when I was a kid and then served over rice or noodles. Normally no potatoes in that case since other cheap and delicious carbs were already present.

  3. I think at this point you’re allowed to make the tiniest tweak to the Spanish Rice recipe and call it your own. Jeff Smith was lucky the statute of limitations kicked in and his ignominious end didn’t mean ending up like Dennis Hastert or Harvey Weinstein.

  4. I make a very similar recipe to your rice recipe, but I skip the meat part and instead toss in lentils to cook with the rice. As long as they’re not the tiny lentils, easy way to cook them without needing an extra pot.

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