This flavorful and easy chicken cassoulet is inspired by the classic French cassoulet, though prepared in much less time with very simple, easy to find ingredients. Juicy chicken thighs and legs are seared and then gently simmered with sausage, creamy white beans and pancetta in a rich, aromatic sauce to create this rustic and warming meal made extra comfy-cozy with crusty bread!
Cassoulet Made Easy
Classic cassoulet is a rustic, old-world, peasant-style dish that hails from southern France—it's rich, velvety and hearty.
Traditionally prepared with layers of salt pork, duck, goose or mutton, garlic sausage, plus dried white beans, this dish can take hours (even days!) to prepare, with ingredients that aren't necessarily as easy to find in our local markets these days.
Since I absolutely adore cozy, stew-like dishes that are rich in flavor and texture, and can double as either “fancy” or incredibly rustic, I wanted to create my own take on this classic French casserole by using easy to find ingredients, with a shorter cooking time.
My recipe for chicken cassoulet has lots of succulent flavor from bone-in chicken thighs and legs, rich sausage, a bit of pancetta, plus good quality canned white beans that become creamy in much less time than the dried beans.
Simmered gently in a sauce kissed with a touch of tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic, onions, and thyme, all you'll need is some warm, crusty bread to serve alongside this chicken cassoulet in order to make this perfectly comforting, French-inspired meal at home!
My Recipe for Chicken Cassoulet
For my take on delicious French cassoulet, I'm looking to keep the ingredients easy to find, and cut down a bit on the cooking time so that we can spend more time gathered around the table, and a little less time at the stove.
My main ingredients for this chicken cassoulet include bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs, organic canned cannellini beans, some pancetta (or salt pork, if available) cut into chunks, plus some pork sausage.
I also like to use aromatics in this dish, which include dried bay leaves, fresh thyme, lots of garlic and onions, as well as a touch of tomato paste, along with some chicken stock to create a saucy-yet-velvety texture.
Here's a glance at my recipe chicken cassoulet: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I sear off my chunks of pancetta in a large, deep pot or Dutch oven until golden, then remove them and leave just a little bit of their drippings.
- Next, I sear the sausage, and when done, remove it from the pot.
- Then, the seasoned chicken pieces go into the pot to sear until golden-brown on the outside, then I remove those and set aside.
- Next, I wipe out my pot, leaving just a little of the fat, and add in my aromatics to soften, then my tomato paste and white wine, followed by my white beans and chicken stock. I nestle my chicken pieces back in, along with my sausage and my pancetta.
- A fresh bundle of thyme is scattered over top, as well as some rosemary, and the cassoulet is brought to a simmer.
- Then, uncovered, it is placed into the oven to finish cooking, for about 1 hour.
- I remove the thyme bundle, the rosemary and the bay leaves, then finish with some fresh thyme leaves, and serve the chicken cassoulet with bread on the side, for dipping.
by Ingrid Beer
This chicken cassoulet is an easy take on the French classic, prepared with succulent chicken, cannellini beans, and pork sausage!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 976 calories per serving
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- 8 ounces pancetta (or salt pork), cut into larger dice
- 12 ounces pork sausage (garlic sausage, if you can find it), cut into 2” inch pieces
- 4 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- Black pepper
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
- 8 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3 (15 ounce) cans organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 small bundle thyme (broken up into a few sprigs), plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, divided use
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- Crusty bread, to serve alongside
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Place a large, deep Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the diced pancetta and allow it to crisp for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside for a moment.
- Next, add in the chunks of pork sausage, and sear those for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove those from the pot and set aside for a moment.
- Season the chicken thighs and drumsticks with salt and pepper, and sear those in the pot for about 4 minutes per side, or until the skin is golden-brown. Remove from pot and set aside for a moment.
- Wipe out a bit of fat from the pot leaving about 2 tablespoons worth. Add in the onion and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add in the bay leaves and Herbes de Provence, along with the garlic, and stir those in until aromatic.
- Stir in the tomato paste to incorporate, then pour in the white wine, allowing it bubble up for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the cannellini beans and the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then add back into the pot the sausage pieces and the pancetta, and nestle the chicken pieces into the pot. Scatter the bundle of thyme over top of the chicken (breaking up the bundle into smaller sprigs), and add the rosemary sprig as well.
- Place the chicken cassoulet into the oven, uncovered, and cook for 1 hour, turning the pot halfway through the cooking for even browning.
- Remove the chicken cassoulet from the oven and remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs, as well as the bay leaves. Allow it to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (it will be very hot), then and sprinkle over top the 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
- To serve, spoon either 1 thigh or 2 drumsticks into a shallow bowl, along with some of the saucy beans and the sausage, and enjoy with crusty bread on the side for dipping.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chicken Cassoulet recipe:
- Combo of chicken thighs and legs, or your preferred cuts: I like to use both chicken thighs and legs for this chicken cassoulet, just to give some variety. You could use all chicken thighs (use six thighs, in that case), or all legs (use eight large legs, in that case). You could also opt for bone-in chicken breasts, but these will not be quite as rich in this dish, and you must take care not to overcook them.
- Opt for a nice, garlicky sausage, or a non-smoked variety: If you can find pork garlic sausage, this is what is traditionally used in classic cassoulet. But if you can't find this, no worries, opt for a pork sausage that is on the mild side rather than smoked, as the smoky flavor will overpower things a bit, and is not a traditional flavor in cassoulet.
- Salt pork, or pancetta: Salt pork is more traditionally used in a cassoulet recipe, but is not always easy to find at your local market. It comes from the pork belly, and is cured and salted. If you can find that, use it. If not, then just substitute pancetta, cutting it into chunks.