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Warm up with Cowboy Stew

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By Susan Lowery

 

If you’re looking for a good, stick-to-your-ribs, easy one-pot recipe that will warm you up, look no further. My mom used to make a variation of this Cowboy Stew when the winter winds were blowing across the prairie in Illinois where I grew up.
We got snowdrifts in our yard that were taller than I was. Across the road to the west was a vast expanse of corn or bean stubble, and the landscape was so flat that even with rows of snow fence in the field, we’d get covered every winter.
We kids would build snow forts and have major snowball battles. My dad would flood our patio with about three inches of water, let it freeze, and we’d go ice-skating. The only hill for sledding was about a mile out of town, but sometimes we’d grab the bumper of a car and take a little ride. (Don’t ever do this, kids!) My friend Darrell would bring his horse Chingo over, and he could pull two or three sleds at a time. Oh, those were the days...

Cowboy Stew
6 slices bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
3 (16oz) cans tomatoes, chopped, with juice
1 T. chili powder
Salt, pepper to taste
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can red kidney beans
Cook bacon in large skillet or Dutch oven till crisp. Remove and drain. Cook onion, green pepper, garlic, and ground beef in bacon grease till meat is done and vegetables are softened. Add tomatoes, chili powder, salt and pepper, and simmer 30 minutes. Add potatoes, corn and beans and cook an additional 30 minutes. If at any time it seems to stick, you can add a little water or tomato juice. Great with cornbread or hot French bread. Tastes even better the next day if you have leftovers. Serves 6.