Cowboy Stew

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Saddle up with this Cowboy Stew, a hearty meat-rich easy dinner bursting with flavor. Loaded with ground beef, sausage, and bacon, and seasoned with paprika and chili powder, this is sure to be the tastiest stew in the west- or at least, in your kitchen!

Cowboy stew featuring tender meat and hearty vegetables.

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What is Cowboy Stew?

As the name implies, this western stew recipe was invented by cowboys in the 19th century, who combined meats and vegetables in a broth to make a filling and convenient meal for the trail. While cowboy stew is now enjoyed all over the United States, modern variations now include spices, like cumin and chili powder.

Why This Easy Cowboy Stew Recipe is a Keeper

  • Easy Ingredients: While this hearty Texas cowboy stew recipe calls for various types of meat and vegetables, you can use whatever ones you have on hand.
  • Quick Prep: It only takes 15 minutes to prep this delicious stew, and an hour to cook. This stew is loaded with beef and so good you can not wait to make and eat this easy stew.
  • Easy Storage: Simply store your cowboy stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and reheat the leftover Texas cowboy stew when ready to eat.

If you’re looking for more dinner recipes, try these: Spicy Beef Stew, Instant Pot Gumbo, and Stuffed Pepper Soup.

Can I Make Cowboy Stew in the Instant Pot?

A spoonful with corn, beans, and sausage.

Yes, you can make this stew in an instant pot, Dutch oven, crock pot, or slow cooker.

Ingredient Notes for Texas Cowboy Stew Recipe

A plate of  sausage, beef, corn and potatoes to make the dinner.
  • Beef: This ranch style stew uses three types of meat, including ground beef. Cook lean ground beef in the Dutch oven, and add the vegetables once it’s halfway cooked.
  • Smoked Sausage: Smoked sausage will add a great southwestern flavor to your cowboy stew.

See the recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.

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Variations and Substitutions for this Hearty Easy Dinner Recipe

  • Different Beans: This hearty stew recipe calls for pinto beans and black beans, but you can use any variety of beans you’d like, such as red kidney beans.
  • Meat: Instead of ground beef, try ground turkey, ground chicken, or chunks of stew beef instead. You can also use kielbasa sausage instead of smoked sausage.

Special Equipment Needed for this Beef Stew Recipe

This cowboy stew is a hearty meal that you can make in a bunch of different appliances, the instant pot, slow cooker or dutch oven or a large pot work well too.

  • Dutch Oven: Cook the stew in a crock pot or Dutch oven. You can also use an instant pot or slow cooker. If you don’t have any of these, you can use a large pot.

How to Make Old-Fashioned Cowboy Stew

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These are the basic steps for making cowboy stew. Refer to the full, printable recipe card below for detailed instructions.

A series of photos demonstrating how to make cowboy stew, featuring sausage and carrots in a pot.

Step 1: Place Bacon In Dutch Oven and Cook

Chop the bacon into half inch pieces, then add to a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until done. While the bacon is cooking, chop the onion, carrots, potatoes, and smoked sausage. Once the bacon is done, remove it from the pot, and drain the grease.

Step 2: Add Ground Beef, Spices and Garlic to the Pot

Add the ground beef and start to brown it, breaking it up as it cooks. Once the ground beef is halfway cooked, add the sliced smoked sausage, onions, and carrots. Continue cooking until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are soft. Using a slotted spoon, stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika.

Step 3: Add Vegetables and Bring to a Boil, Stir and Cook

Add the remaining ingredients: canned diced tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, corn, russet potatoes, and beef broth, along with the bacon. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stir, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the stew simmer for about 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add salt and black pepper to taste, then serve. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.

Cooking the ingredients for the hearty meal.

Recipe Tips & FAQs for this Delicious Stew

Add whatever veggies and beans you want to this stew. For instance, you can try zucchini, squash, diced green chilies, or ranch style beans.

These stews contain the same main ingredients of meat and vegetables. However, hobo stew is sometimes cooked over a campfire.

You can; however, purple onions have a stronger flavor and are less sweet than yellow onions.

Make the hearty cowboy stew per the recipe card below, then you can store the stew and freeze the stew in individual portions or the entire amount in airtight packages or bags. Then you can reheat the stew for dinner. It is such a great recipe. You can defrost the frozen stew in the refrigerator too.

A bowl of cowboy stew with corn, beans and sausage.

Expert Tips for Making the Best Cowboy Stew

  • Toppings: Add flavor to the stew with shredded cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips, or green onions.
  • Slow Cooker: Make the stew in the crock pot.
  • Heat: Green chile peppers add a nice bit of heat to the cowboy stew.
  • Thicken the Stew: Make a mixture of flour and water or cornstarch and water and place back to the pot and stir until the stew thickens.
Cowboy stew featuring tender meat and hearty vegetables.
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Cowboy Stew

Yield: 8 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Saddle up with this Cowboy Stew, a hearty meat-rich dinner bursting with flavor. Made with beef, sausage, and bacon, and seasoned with paprika and chili powder, this is sure to be the tastiest stew in the west- or at least, in your kitchen!
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Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 slices Bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 14 ounces Smoked Sausage, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • 14.5 ounces Diced Tomatoes, 1 can
  • 15 ounces Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces Sweet Corn, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups Beef Broth
  • 3 Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

Instructions

  • Chop the bacon into half inch pieces, and add to a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until done.
  • While the bacon is cooking, chop the onion, carrots, potatoes, and smoked sausage.
  • Once the bacon is done cooking, remove it from the pot, and drain the grease.
  • Add the ground beef and start to brown it, breaking it up as it cooks. Once the ground beef is halfway cooked, add the smoked sausage, onions, and carrots. Continue cooking until the beef is browned and the onions are soft.
  • Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, corn, potatoes, and beef broth. Add the bacon back in as well.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stir, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 619kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 966mg | Potassium: 1356mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 689IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 6mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American

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