Cowboy soup is a comforting, hearty dish that evokes the spirit of the Old West. It’s a versatile soup that combines a variety of ingredients, often including ground beef, beans, vegetables, and seasonings, all simmered together to create a rich, flavorful meal. Perfect for feeding a crowd or enjoying as a filling family dinner, cowboy soup is easy to make and highly customizable to suit your tastes.

Ingredients

The beauty of cowboy soup lies in its versatility. While there are many variations, common ingredients often include:

  • Meat: Typically ground beef or chunks of beef stew meat, but sometimes other meats like pork or chicken are used.
  • Vegetables: Onions, tomatoes, corn, and potatoes are common, but carrots, bell peppers, and other vegetables can be included.
  • Spices: Chili powder, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper are typical seasonings.
  • Broth: Beef broth or water serves as the base.

Preparation

  1. Brown the Beef:
    • In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until fully cooked. Break it apart as it cooks to ensure even browning.
    • Once the beef is cooked, drain any excess fat.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables:
    • Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot with the beef. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent and fragrant.
  3. Combine Ingredients:
    • Stir in the kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, corn, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth.
    • Add the diced green chilies, taco seasoning, chili powder, and ground cumin. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Simmer the Soup:
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
    • Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally.
  5. Season and Serve:
    • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
    • Serve the cowboy soup hot, garnished with your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, or crushed tortilla chips.

Tips and Variations

  • Protein Options: While ground beef is traditional, you can substitute it with ground turkey, chicken, or sausage for a different flavor profile.
  • Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian version, omit the meat and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth. Add extra beans or some diced potatoes for added heartiness.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the heat by adding more or less chili powder and green chilies. For extra heat, consider adding a diced jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Make Ahead: Cowboy soup is a great make-ahead meal. It often tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for longer storage.

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