Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet

4.60 from 15 votes
1 hour
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Classic cassoulet can take days to make but this simplified, healthier version of that iconic French provincial dish comes together in about an hour with all the flavor! This Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet is great as a casual weeknight dinner or perfect for impromptu entertaining!

“Cassoulet is one of my husband’s favorite dishes which we normally save for dining out. He loved this saying it was amongst the best he has ever had.”

Photo of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet with serving utensils with blue napkin and garlic cloves.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Ten years ago around this time, I was about to take a two-week trip through France with a group of personal chefs. We all met up in Paris, but because of a train strike, it took us a little longer to get to our destination in the South of France. When we finally arrived in Carcassonne, the first meal we had together that was iconic French was cassoulet. The restaurant owner informed us that each cassoulet takes three days to make!

The flavor was amazing and I savored every bite! Ever since I’ve been smitten with cassoulet but who has three days to make one dish?

Besides the time it takes, the other downside to a classic cassoulet (at least where I live) is most of the ingredients like duck, duck sausage and tarbais beans have to be ordered from specialty suppliers–all which come with hefty price tags.

This Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet:

  • Uses ingredients found in any grocery store or which you may already have on hand like budget-friendly chicken thighs, smoked sausage and canned white beans.
  • Is healthier than the classic version!
  • Tastes as though it took forever to make, but can be on your table in about an hour!

Let’s make it!

Photo of one serving of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet in red clay bowl.

What is cassoulet?

Simply put, cassoulet is a meat-enriched bean casserole. The beans typically used are Tarbais but any white bean such as cannellini or Great Northern works.

It originated as simple peasant farmhouse fare in the Languedoc region of southern France. Peasants, facing starvation during the Hundred Years’ War, were said to have thrown whatever they could find—beans, duck, sausage and other odds and ends into a pot to create a stew. Since then, it has morphed into a rich, elaborate, complex dish that can take days to make.

It’s named for the deep, round earthenware pot called a cassole in which it is baked.  The combination of ingredients such as duck confit, cured meats, sausages, game and the beans are first cooked separately then combined in the cassole followed by a crunchy breadcrumb crust. Although elaborate, this process makes cassoulet a great make-ahead dish.

Recipes vary from cook to cook in that region because historically, it was made with whatever they had available.

Photo of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet with gray napkin and serving utensils.

How to make Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this cassoulet recipe along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Photo of ingredients for Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Chicken Thighs: Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You could also use chicken breasts but chicken thighs will have more flavor and are more budget-friendly.
  • Smoked Sausage: I used regular pork smoked sausage which is slightly different than kielbasa but kielbasa will also work. If you don’t consume pork, use turkey, chicken or beef sausage.
  • White Beans: Use either canned cannellini beans (white kidney beans) or Great Northern beans. Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans as the liquid they’re canned in can be quite salty.
  • Dry White Wine: Always use a wine that you would enjoy drinking. I typically use an unoaked chardonnay. Non-Alcoholic Substitute: Use 1/2 cup water and 1-2 teaspoons white wine vinegar. (White wine vinegar has a trace amount of alcohol.)

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and cook in olive oil until no longer pink (to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees).
  • Transfer to a plate and let cool to the touch.
Photo of four boneless skinless chicken thighs in white cast iron skillet.
  • Refresh the olive oil and cook the onion and celery until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Photo of cooked onion and celery in white cast iron skillet.
  • Add the fresh herbs and spices and give it a stir.
Photo of sauteed onion, celery and spices in white cast iron skillet.
  • Add the wine and tomato paste and cook briefly.
Photo of cassoulet after wine and tomato paste has been added.
  • Add the sausage, beans and broth.
Photo of cassoulet after beans and sausage have been added.
  • Shred the chicken, stir it in and heat through.
  • MAKE AHEAD: Can be made 24 hours ahead to the point of adding the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate until needed then combine the breadcrumbs with olive oil, sprinkle over the top and bake. Add at least an additional 10-12 minutes to the cooking time.
Photo of cassoulet on white marble surface before breadcrumbs are added.
  • Top with breadcrumbs…
Photo of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet in white cast iron skillet before baking.
  • And bake!
Photo of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet with serving utensils.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • If possible, always “cook” tomato paste as I did in this chicken and sausage cassoulet recipe. Doing so changes the aroma and taste of the paste. The result is a cooked rather raw flavor, less bitter, sweeter with greater depth.
  • Use day-old or older bread to make the breadcrumbs. Because the bread is dry, it will be easier to get them crumbly in the food processor.
Photo of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet after some has been served with serving utensils.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you make cassoulet ahead of time?

Cassoulet is probably the ultimate make-ahead dish! Get it prepped to the point of adding the breadcrumbs, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Add the breadcrumbs, then bake.

What is the difference between a cassoulet and a casserole?

Cassoulet is a French stew made with meat and beans while a casserole is a type of dish that is cooked slowly in an oven. A basic cassoulet contains meat like pork, duck, goose and white beans while casseroles contain ingredients like beef, chicken, fish and/or vegetables, a binder such as rice or pasta and a crunchy or cheesy topping.

Close-up photo of cassoulet being served from white cast iron skillet.

Delicious, friends!

Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet is perfect for a casual dinner or an easy way to impress guests!

What do you eat with cassoulet?

More easy French-inspired chicken recipes:

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Photo of Easy Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet after some has been served with serving utensils.

Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet

4.60 from 15 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet is a simplified, healthier version of the iconic French Provincial dish that can take days to make but it has all the flavor. Great as a casual weeknight dinner or perfect for impromptu entertaining!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine French
Servings 6
Calories 503 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup olive oil - divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs - approximately 1 pound
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery - or 2 small, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme - or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 7 ounces smoked sausage such as kielbasa - turkey or pork, quartered lengthwise then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cans (15-ounce each) cannellini beans - or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth - preferably low-sodium
  • 1 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper on both sides and place smooth side down in the preheated pan. Cook undisturbed for 6-7 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary so thighs cook evenly. Flip when edges are opaque and lightly browned and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. Transfer to a plate and let cool to the touch. Do not wipe out the skillet and keep it at medium-high.
  • While the chicken is cooling, add 2 tablespoons of oil then add onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5-6 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the thyme, allspice, cayenne if using and bay leaf.
  • Add the wine and tomato paste and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Add the sausage, beans and broth. Bring to a simmer.
  • Shred the chicken, letting the bean, sausage and vegetable combination simmer while you shred.
  • Add the chicken, heat it through and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
  • Smooth the top of the cassoulet.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sides are bubbling.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: Cassoulet can be made 24 hours ahead to the point of adding the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate until needed then combine the breadcrumbs with olive oil, sprinkle over the top and bake. Add at least an additional 10-12 minutes to the cooking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 811mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 264IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe, thank you! I made this for 30 people last week…served with buttery mash and roasted veg…absolutely Brill.. they loved it…went back for 3rd’s!!! x

    1. Hi, Lou Lou, Thanks so very much and so happy you and everyone enjoyed! Wow, that’s a lot of cassoulet! Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment. Thanks again!

  2. I followed this recipe as instructed using dried beans versus canned. Was very disappointed and so was my husband. Will Not make this again.

  3. 4 stars
    Thanks so much for giving me an easy way to try a cassoulet. Every time I’ve been to France, I’m always excited when it’s on the menu.

    We loved the basic recipe but didn’t care for the breadcrumb topping. While it browned and tasted OK, it made the somewhat dry cassoulet too dry to enjoy. I scraped it off, added some water and reheated, and we found it much more enjoyable.

    When I simmered it as instructed, I had a top on the skillet, so I am unclear how it ended up so dry. But that was easy to fix and will be something to watch for the next time. I may experiment with other toppings.

    1. Hi, Caine, Thanks so much and happy you enjoyed overall. I also appreciate the constructive feedback. I increased the amount of chicken broth to 2 cups on the recipe. Thanks again!

  4. 5 stars
    Just wanted to thank you for this delicious “Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet” recipe. Cassoulet is one of my husband’s favorite dishes which we normally save for dining out. He loved this saying it was amongst the best he has ever had.

  5. Super easy and the flavor is fabulous. I’ll add a little extra liquid next time, just to have a few more juices to mop up with some crusty bread.