cowboy bean stew

One of my campfire favourites for small gatherings – either at fixed camp or on the move if you have space for supplies in your saddle bag or pack.


Its easy to make, uses items that are either dry or preserved for the trail and can be substituted out for other things depending on what you have to hand. Best of all it is hearty and packed full of the things you need to keep you going – all from one pot. Simple.

Serves 4-6

  • Couple of large onions
  • Smoked Paprika (two or three tea-spoons)
  • Ib of smoked cured bacon
  • Stock (or stock cube – beef, chicken, ham or vegetable)
  • Pinto beans, cannelini beans and butter beans (or failing that baked beans!)
  • Mug of sweet, strong black coffee (or failing that a two or three spoons of instant and a spoon of sugar)
  • Small bar of plain chocolate or two-three teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • Add water – or beer or wine.
  • Optional is adding tomatoes or failing that ketchup
  • Salt and pepper and cayenne if you want a kick. Add an ancho chile or a smoked jalapeno if you want extra flavour.

Directions: Finely dice the onions, add the paprika to the pot with a dash of oil. Sweat. Add finely minced/diced bacon or lardons. Cook for some colour.
Add beans (maybe been soaked the night before) and the rest of the ingredients. Leave to cook for several hours or make day before and properly re-heat. Serve straight or in a tortilla wrap as a plate.


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