My cowboy stew recipe is one part beef stew, one part chili, five parts DELICIOUS!
Love hearty stew recipes? You’ll flip for this! With the tender meat of an Instant Pot beef stew and the veggies and beans of a Brunswick stew, cowboy stew takes the best parts of your favorite recipes and simmers them to perfection.
The only thing it doesn’t have is a nod to chicken stew…but hey, let’s throw in some shredded poultry! Why not? Cowboy stew welcomes every ingredient!
Bring your appetite and let’s get cooking!
This ain’t your mama’s stew recipe! Loaded with three types of meat and tons of veggies, this stew is the lip-smacking dinner your family’s been waiting for.
- Tender, juicy meat
- One-pot wonder
- Easy cleanup!
- Crowd-pleasing flavor
How To Make Cowboy Stew Recipe
Start by crisping your bacon — make sure to do it in a pot, not on the oven, so you get all that yummy bacon grease! And in that grease, you’ll fry up your sausage.
Set aside your bacon and sausage, then cook your beef, onion, and garlic. Add in your flour, salt, pepper, and chili, and once that’s happy, dump in everything else except the parsley.
My cowboy stew 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 don’t need fancy ingredients to get WOW flavor! Using a few canned convenience items helps make the prep simple while still giving you a stew so good you’ll slap the table.
- Kielbasa – This recipe uses three types of meat for a fully dimensional flavor sensation! If you’re thinking about skipping one, don’t — I promise, it’s worth it. For instance, the kielbasa brings a delicious smokiness that the bacon and beef don’t have. You just can’t have cowboy stew without all these treats!
- Tomatoes – I use canned tomatoes for this recipe to save on time in the prep stage as well as the cooking stage. And using petite diced tomatoes helps them break down even faster! If you can’t find petite, using crushed is a good alternative.
- Beans – I love the flavor and sweetness that comes with using canned baked beans in this stew! My favorite is good ol’ Bush’s Original, but you can use any brand at your store.
- Corn – Playing up the sweetness, even more, I use sweet corn in this recipe too. Sweet corn is NOT just corn canned with sugar — it’s a specific type of corn. So make sure you’re reading labels and not just getting plain corn with added sugar. Yuck!
Tools to Make
The tools to make this cowboy stew recipe are so simple!
- A pot – You’ll want to use 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’s it! Since it is such a key tool, make sure you use a good quality pot.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Store your cowboy stew leftovers in an airtight container, and they’ll last in your fridge for up to four days. If saving space is a priority, you can put your cooled 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. But the potatoes can be quite finicky in freezing temps, so you may want to leave those out — you can always add canned potatoes to this when it’s time to serve!
If you do freeze it sans potatoes, you can let it sit in your freezer for up to three months. To thaw, let it sit in the fridge overnight. Then add your potatoes and reheat!
Make Ahead Tips
This one-pot wonder comes together pretty quickly thanks to those canned goodies! The various meats can’t be cooked ahead because you need them to build the flavor for your stew, but you can always chop the onions, garlic, potatoes, and kielbasa ahead of time.
The onions and garlic can be stored together, and the kielbasa can go in a sealed plastic bag — all of it can sit for up to a week in the fridge.
This cowboy stew recipe goes with pretty much any favorite chili and stew sides! Cornbread, crackers, a dollop of sour cream — you name it, it’ll taste great.
If you want to take this stew recipe to the next level, you can always do a play on beefaroni by adding elbow macaroni! Or toss in some egg noodles for beef and noodles taken to the max. It’s so easy to make this delicious dish taste even better!
This cowboy stew recipe is downright good eatin’ on its own, but here are some fun tweaks!
- Up your grains by adding barley + more liquid to get beef barley soup.
- Leave out the kielbasa and add some frozen mixed vegetables to make hamburger stew.
- Go all pork with bacon, brats, and ground pork for a delicious pork stew.
- Make sure you get your veggies by adding in all your favorite green picks with vegetable beef soup.
- Let’s play up Taco Tuesday with zesty Mexican flavors in a taco soup!
There are tons of great beef soup recipes out there, but this cowboy stew has got to be one of my all-time favorites! If you’re looking for other show-stopping chili and stew recipes, try one of these:
- 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.
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Three types of meat and wholesome veggies will have everyone in your family begging for more of this cowboy stew recipe!
What did you serve your stew with — cornbread or crackers? Let me know in the comments!