Cowboy Stew – Averie Cooks

Cowboy Stew – Averie Cooks

Cowboy Stew – All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! Slow cooker instructions also provided.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Easy Cowboy Stew Recipe

Calling all cowboys and cowgirls, this easy cowboy stew recipe is pure comfort food, especially when the weather is chilly. If you’re feeling cold to the bone like I am, a big pot of this family-friendly beef stew recipe is just the ticket. 

Actually, there’s not just beef in this cowboy stew. There’s also bacon, sausage, beans, Rotel, potatoes, and corn, all simmered in a super flavorful broth thanks to a combination of chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin.

Between the animal proteins, beans, and potatoes this stew is very hearty, filling, and will warm you up from the inside out.

Whether you want to make it as an easy weeknight dinner or throw a pot on over the weekend, everyone asks for seconds.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

If you’re hosting any kind of game day, tailgating, or sports-fan party, I know this beef, bacon, and sausage cowboy stew will be a hit.

I am not exactly sure how cowboy stew got its name. If you research it, many say that it originated in Texas as Texas cowboy stew. And since people tend to associate Texas with plenty of meat, I think the name stuck since this stew sure has plenty of meat.

But all that protein helps keep you full and satisfied for hours!

For anyone wondering if you can make this in a Crock-Pot, keep reading because yes, you can.

Tip: If you have anyone who loves pork and bacon, and all things hearty, my Triple Pork Black Bean Chili is just for you! 

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Ingredients in Cowboy Stew

To make this easy cowboy stew that’s brimming with flavor thanks to the triple proteins (and four if you count the beans), you’ll need to grab some common and easy-to-find fridge and pantry ingredients including the following:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Bacon
  • Cooked Polish sausage or kielbasa sausage
  • Yellow or white onion
  • Garlic
  • Yukon gold or red potatoes
  • Canned pinto beans (or your favorite) 
  • Canned sweet corn or whole-kernel corn 
  • Rotel
  • Reduced sodium beef broth
  • Chili powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnishing

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

How to Make Cowboy Stew with Beef, Sausage and Bacon

Making cowboy stew is a cinch and you’ll have it ready in no time by following my easy and straightforward directions:

Step 1: In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, bown the hamburger, remove it with a slotted spoon, set it aside, and drain the grease.

Step 2: Cook the bacon and when crisp, remove it, but don’t drain the grease. You want to save these bacon drippings for all the great flavor they add.

Step 3: Use the bacon grease to brown the sausage, onions, and garlic.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Step 4: Add the hamburger and bacon back in, along with all the remaining ingredients, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Step 5: Garnish with cilantro and serve! 

Can I Make Cowboy Stew in a Crock-Pot?

Yes you sure can make cowboy stew in a slow cooker. I personally like to do it on the stove because it’s quicker, and for me, that’s always a bonus.

However, if you like to have something simmering for hours, this cowboy stew recipe will work nicely in your Crockpot.

Make cowboy stew in a slow cooker by doing the following:

  1. In a skillet on your stove, brown the hamburger, drain the grease, and remove the beef.
  2. Cook the bacon, remove it, and brown the sausage in the bacon grease.
  3. Transfer everything to a large 7 to 8-quart slow cooker.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients, cover, and cook for about 4 hours on low or about 2 hours on high. Cooking time always varies in slow cookers so keep an eye on it and once the potatoes are done, it’s done.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and serve it right up.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

What Kind of Beef, Sausage, and Bacon Are Best for Cowboy Stew?

In this three protein recipe, it’s important to select the proper protein for the job!

  • Ground beef – I use lean ground beef in the 90% range. If you go too fatty, of course there’s just simply lots of excess grease. However, too lean isn’t great either because fat add flavor that extra lean or ultra lean ground beef just doesn’t have. The sweet spot for me is about 90% lean.
  • Bacon – You can use whatever your favorite bacon is, from thick-cut to smoked and everything in between. Dice it into bite-sized pieces before cooking it to hasten the cooking time.
  • Sausage – Select pre-cooked sausage, many times sold in a U-shaped “ring” or package, many times labeled Polish sausage or kielbasa. You can use beef, pork, or turkey sausage.

Tip: I don’t like sausage links in casings as much for this because not only do you have to deal with the casings, but if you take them off, you essentially wind up with ground sausage very similar to the ground beef above. Whereas if you use cooked sausage, you can slice it before you brown it, and it retains its texture so that you have three distinct textures with the proteins. 

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Is Texas Cowboy Stew Spicy?

In my opinion this cowboy stew is not spicy, as I wrote the recipe.

There are only a couple elements that could potentially add any spiciness to the dish:

  • Chili powder – Most chili powder is not spicy enough unless you use tablespoons of it to really give a strong kick to soups, stews, or chilis. If you want your stew a little spicier, add much more than I call for, at least 2 to 3 tablespoons (not teaspoons of chili powder) because most doesn’t have as much kick as people think.
  • Cayenne pepper – This is an optional ingredient, and I use a small pinch to just add a tiny bit of pizazz to my cowboy stew. I wouldn’t even call it “spicy” but you can add more, or none at all, depending on your goals.
  • Rotel – It’s a mixture of diced tomatoes and green chiles. I use Original Rotel but you can also use the mild or spicy versions based on your preferences.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Serving Suggestions for Easy Cowboy Stew

We all have that one person in our family or in our circle who thinks that “soup is not a meal”.

Well this soup, or stew technically, is definitely a meal, and very filling! 

Therefore, I don’t think you need to serve it with much more. However, a couple of my favorite serving suggestions for cowboy soup include:

  • Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread – Moist, fluffy, golden brown buttermilk cornbread prepared in a cast iron skillet for a crispy edge. Easy, ready in 30 minutes, and foolproof.
  • Honey Cornbread Muffins — Between the sour cream, oil, and butter in the batter, it’s impossible to wind up with dry honey cornbread muffins! 
  • Sweet Potato Cornbread — Homemade cornbread just got better because it’s jazzed up with mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice! Thanks to the natural moisture from sweet potatoes and the addition of buttermilk, it’s so moist and flavorful!
  • Parker House Rolls – Not a cornbread fan? These are the BEST homemade dinner rolls because they’re so light, airy, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth! They have a wonderful buttery flavor that will make them an instant family favorite.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

How to Store Leftover Cowboy Stew

Most soups and stews keep very well, especially when there are no noodles to silently soak up all the broth as they sit, and so your easy cowboy stew will keep well.

Airtight in the fridge, it’ll keep for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Tip: Store it in smaller-to mid-sized airtight containers, especially if freezing it, for easier thawing and faster reheating. 

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! 

Tips for the Best Cowboy Stew

Beef, Bacon, and Sausage – I’ve already mentioned what specific proteins I recommend above, so read that section if you skimmed over it.

Lean (but not too lean) ground beef, your favorite bacon, and precooked sausage is the way to go. 

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! Slow cooker instructions also provided. Potatoes – I suggest a waxier potato like Yukon golds or red potatoes.

Starchier potatoes like Russets or baking potatoes will disintegrate and not hold their shape and don’t recommend them.

Make sure to cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces so that they cook through during the allocated amount of simmering time. It’s only the potatoes that need to get “done” and the bigger they are, the longer this stew will take.

Beans – I use pinto beans (drained and rinsed) but you can use another type of beans including Great Northern, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, or black beans.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! Slow cooker instructions also provided.

Rotel – If you’re not familiar, this is a can of diced tomatoes and green chiles. The Original Rotel isn’t very spicy but you can use the mild, spicy, or favorite type or Rotel or similar canned tomato and chile product. Do not drain it and remember, you’ll need two cans.

Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, and Cayenne (optional) – I use more than the listed amounts in the recipe, about double actually. However, I like really intense flavors and so does my family.

Tip: Don’t confuse bold and intense with overt “spiciness”, because they’re different.

To achieve a nice bold flavor profile I think you will love, I encourage you to use a heavy hand with the seasonings and spices, but of course it’s up to you.

Cowboy Stew - All the cowboys, cowgirls, and meat lovers are going to LOVE this EASY stew recipe with ground beef, bacon, and sausage! There are also beans, potatoes, and corn simmered in a flavorful chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin broth. Ready in 45 minutes, this is pure hearty comfort food that the whole family will enjoy! Slow cooker instructions also provided.

Getting the Flavor Just Right – If your stew tastes at all flat, dull, or like it’s missing something, first make sure it doesn’t need salt.

Salt is what makes restaurant soup taste so darn good and it’s what home cooks tend to neglect thinking “it doesn’t need that much”. Well, it may so don’t be shy if it does.

Secondly, I also add more cumin and chili powder as I mentioned so if you feel like that would help it out, do so.

Finally, don’t skip the cilantro. It really brightens up the whole stew recipe and I deem it essential!

If you have a cilantro hater or someone who’s allergic, a dash of lime juice can also work to brighten up the flavor profile. An acid is always a nice finishing touch for soups. 

Too Thick or Thin? – If your stew is more like a soup and you want it thicker, simply allow it to simmer uncovered for awhile longer. And if it’s just too thick, add more beef broth as desired to achieve the consistency you want.

Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
35 minutes

Total Time
45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I recommend about 90% lean)
  • 6 slices bacon, stacked and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 12 ounce package Polish sausage or kielbasa* (beef, pork, or turkey), sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small yellow or white onion. diced small
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 pound Yukon gold or red potatoes, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • two 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • one 15-ounce can of corn, do not drain
  • two 10.5-ounce cans Rotel
  • 2 cups reduced sodium beef broth, or as needed
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder, or more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnishing

Instructions

  1. To a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat. Stir and crumble the beef as it cooks to ensure even cooking and browning. After it’s done, remove it with a slotted spoon, set it aside, and drain the grease.
  2. Add the bacon to the Dutch oven or pot, and cook until crisp. Stir and flip as it cooks to ensure even cooking and crisping. After it’s done, remove it with a slotted spoon, set it on top of the beef; and do not drain the grease this time.
  3. Add the sausage, onions, and cook them in the bacon grease until the sausage has browned and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir and flip frequently.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir constantly (if you’re making this on the stove, move on to Step 5). For Slow Cooking – Up until now, you perform all the steps the same in the recipe, one through four. This is where now after you’ve cooked the garlic, you’ll transfer everything into a large 7 to 8-quart slow cooker, cover, and slow cook on HIGH for about 2 to 3 hours, or on LOW for about 4 to 5 hours. It’s the potatoes that you want to make sure are fully cooked through and will ultimately deterine cook time. Make any necessary seasoning adjustments, garnish with cilantro and serve.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients (except the cilantro), and simmer uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and done. If the stew is still too brothy, simmer it for additional time so some liquid evaporates. If it’s too thick, add additional beef broth, as desired.
  6. Taste the soup and make any necessary flavor and seasoning adjustments. Seasoning Tips – If the soup tastes at all flat, dull, or boring, it likely needs salt, so add some, to taste. I also add about double the above listed quantities of chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin, and if you like bolder flavors, follow my lead. Cayenne is optional and doesn’t make the soup overtly spicy but rather adds depth of flavor. With any spices, always add them to your personal taste preferences.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro to really brighten up the flavor profile (or try a squirt of fresh lime juice), and serve immediately. Stew will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. Tip – Store it in smaller-to mid-sized containers, especially if freezing it, for easier thawing and faster reheating. 

Notes

*Sausage – Select pre-cooked sausage, many times sold in a U-shaped “ring” or package, many times labeled Polish sausage or kielbasa. You can use beef, pork, or turkey sausage.

Tip: I don’t like sausage links in casings as much for this because not only do you have to deal with the casings, but if you take them off, you essentially wind up with ground sausage very similar to the ground beef above. Whereas if you use cooked sausage, you can slice it before you brown it, and it retains its texture so that you have three distinct textures with the proteins. 

Nutrition Stats – While I do not deem this stew “lite”, the bacon grease is discarded when you actually make the recipe. However, that’s not accounted for in the automated nutrition stats that are generated. Therefore, in my opinion, the stats are skewing artificially high.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 829Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 1750mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 57g

 

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