Memories surface with Cowboy Stew

Jun 30, 2015 by Capt. John Wampler

Every once in a while, I get an assignment that makes me say, “what the …?”

I received a call last week from the vice president of marketing of Sea Ray Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn. He had a Hollywood VIP client who needed instruction in two days on a Sea Ray 310 that was being trucked from California to Jackson Hole, Wy. Jackson Lake, 45 miles north of Jackson Hole, is a 15-mile-long, high altitude (6,774 feet) lake that parallels the base of the Grand Teton Mountains.

The boating was beautiful, but what I really enjoyed on this trip was the food. Buffalo burgers. Elk tips fondue. Venison tenderloin. The food took me back to my childhood when I spent summers on my grandparents’ two cattle ranches in Wyoming.

It is with this memory that I present Cowboy Stew. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, a casserole dish will do just fine.

Memories surface with Cowboy Stew. Photo from Capt. John Wampler

Memories surface with Cowboy Stew. Photo from Capt. John Wampler


1 pound cubed stew meat

2 tsp meat tenderizer (non-MSG)

2 Tbsp dried sage

1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1 (16 ounce) package frozen stew vegetables

1 (10 ounce) can crescent dinner rolls


In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, sprinkle the meat tenderizer over the meat and cook until browned. Drain off any excess juices.

In a small bowl, mix the sage, chicken broth, soup and soup mix. Pour over the meat, reducing heat to medium low, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Add frozen stew vegetables to the skillet and simmer 10 minutes more.

Unroll the crescent dough and arrange over the stew in a pie shape.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve. Yelling yee-haw is optional. Enjoy, JW