This is a quick and easy weeknight version of a classic cassoulet, a hearty dish that can take a few days to prepare. Cassoulet, originating in the Languedoc region of France, traditionally starts with white beans, onions, tomatoes, herbs, and includes lavish ingredients like pork, sausages, duck confit, and sometimes lamb. Everything is slowly prepared over a few days and served in an earthenware pot under a golden bread crumb crust.
This easier yet tasty cassoulet is a nod to the traditional version. It’s a simple bean dish in a flavorful tomato broth that calls for bacon, chicken thighs, and Italian sausages. It’s a truly comforting meal that can be easily accomplished on a weeknight if you have just 40 minutes to spare. Bring on the snow and cold, this cassoulet has got you covered!
How to Make Cassoulet on a Weeknight
Cook the bacon, onions, and garlic, and brown the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and Italian sausages in a skillet. Throw them into a Dutch oven with canned beans and tomatoes. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and pop it under the broiler for a minute or two. Walk the Dutch oven straight to the table for a beautiful presentation. It’s that easy!
The Best Beans for Easy Cassoulet
White beans are best. There are four readily available types of canned beans to choose from for this recipe. Don’t drain and rinse the beans—add the liquid in the can into the cassoulet.
- Navy beans are small and oval-shaped and famous for their use in Boston baked beans.
- Great northern beans are slightly larger than navy beans. They hold their shape well when cooked and have a mild flavor. These are my favorite for cassoulet.
- Cannellini beans are the next size up from great northern beans and a little meatier than the first two.
- Butterbeans (aka baby lima beans) are the largest of the four.
If you prefer to cook your own dried beans, use 3 1/2 cups cooked beans with some of the cooking liquid instead of two cans of beans.
The Chicken and Sausages
This recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for a boost of flavor. Could you use chicken breasts or boneless thighs? Yes, you can. They tend to overcook faster, so keep your eye on them as they cook.
Fresh Italian pork sausages are easy to find at the grocery store and make a good substitute for the traditionally used Toulouse pork sausages. You could also use garlic sausages or Andouille sausages.
While fresh sausages are preferable, you could use precooked ones. Browning them would be purely for aesthetics, so you can skip that part and add them to the beans, cooking them just long enough to heat them through.
Bring the whole pot of cassoulet to the table! Scoop some beans and broth into bowls and top each with a piece of chicken and a sausage. Try not to disturb the crunchy and delicious crumbs on top when you scoop. Serve it with a simple salad with this dressing and a baguette for swiping up the delicious juices.
To Store and Reheat
Store any leftover cassoulet in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat the cassoulet in a small pot on the stovetop until heated through. You could also microwave individual portions until heated through.
To freeze, spoon leftovers into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it as described above.
More Easy Casseroles to Try
4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 sweet Italian pork sausages (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (14.5-ounce) cans great northern or navy beans
1 small handful fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
1 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Baguette, for serving
Cook the bacon:
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon for 3 to 4 minutes stirring frequently, until it renders much of its fat but is not yet crisp. Transfer the bacon to a large plate.
Prep the chicken and sausages:
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and black pepper. Prick each sausage with the tip of a paring knife in a couple of places. This will prevent them from bursting as they cook.
Cook the chicken and sausages:
In the same skillet used to cook the bacon, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. No need to drain out the bacon grease. Add the chicken, skin side-down, and the sausages. You may need to do this in batches if the skillet is not large enough. Cook the meat until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer them to the plate with the bacon one by one as they look ready.
Cook the onions and garlic:
Pour off and discard all but a thin layer of fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onions soften.
Assemble the cassoulet:
Transfer the cooked onions and garlic into a large (at least 4-quart) Dutch oven. Stir in the tomatoes, beans with their liquid, and thyme sprigs. Nestle in the bacon, chicken thighs, and sausages.
Bring the cassoulet to a simmer over medium heat. Adjust the heat to a steady simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the chicken and sausages are cooked through. The chicken should measure 165ºF when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Turn on the broiler:
Set a rack about 8 inches from the broiler element and turn on the broiler.
Make the breadcrumbs:
In a small bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and parsley.
Broil the cassoulet:
Remove and discard the thyme sprigs from the cassoulet. Evenly sprinkle in the breadcrumbs and place the Dutch oven into the oven to broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until the top browns. Watch it carefully—this only takes a minute or two. Remove the cassoulet from the oven and sprinkle in more parsley, if you’d like.
Serve the cassoulet:
Ladle some beans into 4 shallow bowls. Top each bowl with a sausage and a chicken thigh. Serve with a baguette on the side and a large spoon to scoop up all the delicious juices.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 47g||60%|
|Saturated Fat 13g||67%|
|Total Carbohydrate 117g||42%|
|Dietary Fiber 19g||70%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 12mg||60%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|