There are some recipes I just know my husband will love, and Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole falls solidly in that category. The name of the dish screams meat and potatoes, and the ingredients back that up nicely. When the tomatoes, spices, and kidney beans are added it turns into a love child of roasted potatoes and chili, and then you really have no choice but to top it with cheese.
I made this dish when my in-laws were visiting, and we all really liked it. Since my mother-in-law is a founding member of Crock Pot Thursday, and prides herself on never skipping a weekly recipe, she plans on making this in her own kitchen soon. We agreed that chili beans would be delicious if substituted for the red kidney beans, so if you’re looking for a little more zing to your recipe, try that modification.
I used mozzarella cheese because that’s what I had on hand, but cheddar, Monterrey jack, or Colby jack cheese would be excellent on top of this casserole.
My 3.5 Quart Crock-Pot Casserole Slow Cooker was perfect for this recipe, but any sort of slow cooker would work well.
UPDATE: Based on reader feedback (thank you to everyone who commented!) I’ve updated the directions to highlight the importance of generously salting and peppering the potatoes when they go in the slow cooker. Potatoes are bland without seasoning, and without this step, the dish will be a bummer. If you’re looking for more of a taco-type flavor, add some taco seasoning, chili powder, or cumin to the beef as it’s browning.
Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole
- 1½ pounds ground beef, browned and drained
- 6 medium potatoes, cut into 1½ inch cubes
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- ¼ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- While the ground beef is browning, place potatoes in bottom of slow cooker.
- Salt and pepper generously.
- Add onions and minced garlic.
- Layer ground beef on onions and garlic, and top with kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and water.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.
- When there is about 15 minutes of cook time left, sprinkle cheese on top of dish and cover again until cheese is melted.
I made it with the chili beans, and it was delicious–especially with the sour cream we dolloped on! I also think some corn or carrots or peas would be delicious. Maybe that would take the place of the sour cream–for a bit more low-fat meal.
I like the idea of chili beans, and of sour cream. Like most casseroles, this one is adaptable based on tastes and ingredients on hand.
Recipe modified from Amanda’s Cookin’.