Cowboy stew is like a boisterous concoction consisting of the best parts of beef stew combined with a great beef chili recipe. I’m here to tell you that not all stew recipes are created equal. There are those that are good and then there are those you crave because they’re hearty, the flavor is amazing, and the melt-in-your-mouth tender meat is oh so satisfying.
This cowboy stew recipe is one of those. Grab your bibs, my friends. Combining chili recipes with beef is sheer genius and this is not cookie-cutter stew recipe!
Apron up and bring your appetite!
I love that this is not your run of the mill beef stew recipe. Don’t get me wrong, beef stew is great, but our stew just has that something extra that makes it totally crave-worthy.
Here are some of its most lovable qualities!
- A tender, succulent myriad of bacon, sausage & beef
- The amazingly cohesive crave-worthy flavor profile
- One-pot wonder contains mess for an easy cleanup
- Plenty of wholesome nutritious veggies
- Satisfies the heartiest appetites and please the pickiest palates
Our recipe is an amazingly wholesome and easy to prepare a meal that you’ll feel great about feeding your family. Cooking everything in one pot helps contain the mess and build incredible layers of flavor.
You’ll want to choose a heavier gauged pot or at least one with a thicker, heavier bottom. This will help prevent your fond from burning and promote even cooking throughout so you don’t end up with a mushy mess on the bottom of your pot when your stew is done.
That being said, make sure to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of your pot when you add the liquid ingredients. It’s easy to forget but it’s a crucial step.
Coaxing awesome flavor out of this recipe is possible with a handful of kitchen staples combined in just the right proportions. Using a few canned convenience items helps make the prep simple and easy without sacrificing flavor. Here’s watcha’ need.
Meat – A savory combination of bacon, kielbasa, and ground beef lend a hearty satisfying quality to your stew.
Aromatics – Sautéing onions and garlic helps build a flavorful base for you to build on.
Veggies – Baked beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies, sweet corn, and russet potatoes create a wholesome quality while adding plenty of flavor and texture.
Spices – A simple blend of salt, pepper and chili powder is all you need.
Storing this is super simple. It’ll keep well in an airtight container with a secure lid. Just slide it into the fridge and you’re good to go. If saving space is a priority, you can put your cowboy stew in a gallon-sized Ziploc.
It does tend to thicken a little as it sits in the fridge so you may need to thin it out with a little water when you reheat it.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes and no. This cowboy stew recipe is fantastic for meal prep and it always helps to have a ready-made meal in the freezer. The thing is that potatoes can be quite finicky in freezing temps, so you may want to leave those out. You can always add cooked potatoes to this when its time to serve.
Make Ahead Tips
This is a one-pot wonder that comes together pretty quickly thanks to a few canned conveniences. The various meats can’t really be cooked ahead because you need them to build the fond for your stew.
You can always chop the onions, garlic, potatoes, and kielbasa. The onions and garlic can be stored together, and the kielbasa can go in a sealed plastic bag. You won’t need the potatoes if you’re planning on a freezing but if you do choose to chop them ahead of time, they’ll need to be stored in water to prevent browning.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This should stay fresh and yummy for up to 1-2 days when stored properly in the fridge. The refrigerator should be set at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and its best to reserve the 2-hour serving rule, according to the FDA.
Be sure to let your cowboy stew cool completely before preparing it for storage.
There are lots of different delicious options for this recipe. It does happen to be outstanding as it is, but you may want to tweak it a bit. Here are a few simple suggestions that may pique your interest.
Can I Add Hotdogs Instead Of Sausages?
Certainly! If you want to add hotdogs, that’s up to you. If you’re in a chili dog kinda’ mood, you can always go with a chili cheese dog bake instead. It’s not a far cry and it’ll cure that craving for sure.
Can I Add Pasta?
Tossing pasta will give you the chili mac version which is usually a big hit with the kiddos. You could also use it as a chunky skyline chili recipe and make chili spaghetti. The world is your oyster and it’s your dinner table!
Can I Turn This Into A Hamburger Dish?
Garnering chili burger flavor out of your cowboy stew recipe is pretty simple. You can always leave out the kielbasa and add some frozen mixed vegetables to make a hamburger stew.
Of course, hamburger goulash with sweet Hungarian paprika is also quite a tasty option.
Can I Make This With An Asian Twist?
Throwing an Asian twist into this stew kinda’ changes the nature of it. Going with a Vietnamese beef stew version means using highly aromatic herbs for a new flavor twist completely different from cowboy stew.
You can also try your hand at making the celebratory Filipino dish Kare-Kare or build a delicious Mechado slow simmered in plenty of Asian seasonings.
What Other Beef Recipes Can I Make?
There are so many savory beef recipes its not even funny. There’s something for every preference and taste. You can always omit the kielbasa from this stew and make a fun and friendly meatball stew instead.
You can also grab a can of beer and your paprika to craft Pioneer Woman beef stew. Tossing in some black beans, carrots, and cumin will give you more of a Mexican beef stew if that better suits your flavor profile.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 (12-ounce) package kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 80/20
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 (16-ounce) cans baked beans, with liquid
- 1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chilies, with liquid
- 1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn, with liquid
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- Cook bacon until brown and crispy in a large pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
- Add the sausage to pot drippings and brown on both sides, adjusting heat as needed so fond (brown bits on the bottom of the pot) does not burn. Remove to the plate with bacon; set aside.
- Add beef, onion, and garlic to the pot and brown until the beef is no longer pink. Sprinkle flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder over beef. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, baked beans, green chilies, sweet corn, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and water. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Add additional water if stew is too thick.
There are tons of great chili beef recipes out there, but this cowboy stew has got to be one of my all-time favorites. It’s savory, meaty, wholesome and addictingly delicious. Plus, it’s not a typical cookie-cutter chili.
When you’re ready for a little something different you can try one of these other hearty full-flavored chili recipes.
- Wendy’s Chili Recipe – A simple copycat version that cures the craving.
- Chili Colorado – Succulent beef chuck slow simmered in a tasty red chili sauce.
- Brisket Chili – Fall off the bone savory flavor you can eat with a spoon!
- Texas Roadhouse Chili – The original rebel version of full-flavored chili.
- Steak Chili – The cornbread sidekick made with steak instead of beef.
Cowboy stew is a one-pot wonder that’s delicious enough to bring everyone home for dinner. The savory scent alone will draw them in. Then that amazing flavor is a sweet surrender surprise that awakens the taste buds.
You are gonna’ love this simple dish full of wholesome nutritious veggies that lend plenty of texture and flavor. All you need is a bread item and a drink to wash it down.
And trust me – they’re gonna’ want seconds!