ExperiencePlus! Blog

Recipe: Rick’s Pinto Bean Steak Chili

Rick and Paola (founders of ExperiencePlus! and parents to Monica and Maria Elena) have spent the last few years exploring the Western U.S. in their RV.  They happened to be in Nebraska in the spring of 2020 and ended up buying a 25 pound back of pinto beans from a local distributor. It turns out 25 pounds is not a small amount of beans, and so with all the extra time we have had in the fall and winter of 2020, Rick has been perfecting his Chili Recipe.

Ingredients (using Rick’s measurements)

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • a “handful of garlic” – maybe 3 garlic cloves
  • two hands of chili powder (two tablespoons, more or less depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 cup dry pinto beans (or 1.5 cups, soaked overnight and cooked before you make your chili). Really you can use any beans you want, but make sure they aren’t canned.
  • A large quantity of stew meat (Rick sometimes uses the family value pack from the store) or if you don’t find that 1 or 2 lbs of hamburger, elk or venison
  • one 14 oz can diced or peeled tomatoes (double it if you like your chili more red)
  • salt or broth if necessary


Chop an onion and stir fry it with some olive oil. Throw in a handful of garlic. Once the garlic and onions are browned throw the chili powder and the cumin. Once the onions are nicely browned and have taken on a red glow from the chili add the meat. Cook until the meat is browned. In the meantime in a separate pot cook your pinto beans or whatever beans you like if you haven’t been to Nebraska and bought a 25 pound bag of pinto beans. Do not use, repeat do not use canned beans. And make sure to soak the beans overnight. Once the meat is cooked and the beans are cooked toss in a can of diced or peeled tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes down a little bit to make sure you smash the peeled tomatoes, if you are using peeled tomatoes, and then ladle in enough of the cooked beans to fill the pot. Let the pot simmer for two hours or more. If you need more liquid put a half ladle of broth or water (or whatever broth substitute you like) and cook it down.

Believe it or not I don’t actually taste this. Put it in the fridge and let it sit for a day or two.  Serve it with the selection of sweet onions, medium to spicy salsa, Tillamook cheese grated, and for those who like it creamy, sour cream.

Buon Appetito!