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!
The inspiration behind this recipe:
Ten years ago around this time, I was getting ready to take a two-week trip through France with a group of personal chefs that included a week-long cruise down the Canal du Midi on a refurbished barge and an extended stay in Paris. Although we encountered a few snags along the way like a train strike, the trip was truly memorable!
It took us a little longer to get to our destination in the South of France from Paris where we all connected because of the strike, but when we finally arrived, the first meal we all enjoyed that was iconically French was cassoulet. The delightful restaurant owner informed us that each cassoulet takes them three days to make!
The flavor was amazing and I savored every bite!
What is cassoulet?
Simply put, cassoulet is a meat-enriched bean casserole. The beans used are typically tarbais beans (affiliate link) but any white bean such as cannellini or Great Northern works.
It originated as simple farmhouse fare in the Languedoc region of southern France but has morphed into a rich, elaborate, complex dish.
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 then topped with a crunchy breadcrumb crust. 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.
Not long ago, a well-traveled client requested I prepare an authentic cassoulet. Most of the ingredients had to be ordered from specialty suppliers and came with hefty price tags. This easy chicken cassoulet uses budget-friendly chicken thighs and ingredients found in any area grocery store. You may already have many of these ingredients on hand.
Not only is this abbreviated version easier, quicker, just as flavorful and can be made with ingredients found in any grocery store, Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet is also much healthier!
How to make Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet:
- Gather and prep all the ingredients:
- Olive oil
- Chicken thighs
- Ground allspice
- Bay leaf
- Fresh or dried thyme
- Dry white wine
- Tomato paste
- Chicken broth
- Smoked sausage
- White beans (such as cannellini or Great Northern)
- Salt and black pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Fresh, coarse breadcrumbs
- 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.
- Refresh the olive oil and cook the onion and celery until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the fresh herbs and spices and give it a stir.
- Add the wine and tomato paste and cook briefly.
- Add the sausage, beans and broth.
- Shred the chicken, stir it in and heat through.
- Top with breadcrumbs…
- And bake!
Easy Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet is perfect for a casual dinner or an easy way to impress guests! Serve with a green salad, bread and a great glass of wine and you’re done!
More easy French-inspired recipes:
- Chicken Bouillabaisse
- Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
- French Onion Soup For Two
- French-Style Potato Salad
- French Lentil Salad
- Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- Cabernet Braised Beef Short Ribs with Cauliflower Leek Puree
- Duck Fat and Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Sausage
Helpful tools and equipment (Affiliate Links):
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
- ½ 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 celery rib (or 2 small), finely chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 large bay leaf
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 7 ounces smoked sausage such as kielbasa (turkey or pork), quartered lengthwise then sliced into ¼-inch pieces
- 2 cans (each 15-ounce) cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 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.
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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 851Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 1824mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 9gSugar: 6gProtein: 42g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.