Nothing says comfort food better than a casserole dish that’s slowly cooked and this Easy French Cassoulet Recipe is a perfect example. Juicy chicken, sausages, bacon and white beans simmer away in a broth spiked with vegetables, garlic and herbs.
What is a Cassoulet?
Originating in the south of France this casserole is a slowly simmered, all-in-one meal consisting of pan fried chicken pieces (although typically duck), sausages, thick pieces of pan fried pork belly (basically thick cut bacon pieces) and white beans.
To cut time down from the traditional 5 to 6 hour braise, I use canned white beans instead of cooking up a batch (but feel free), use chicken thighs instead of duck because it’s more readily available and after pan frying the chicken with the skin on, the rendered fat is used to fry spicy turkey sausages for flavoring and the pork belly pieces.
Fresh cut up celery, carrots, onion and garlic are added to a roasting pan where the chicken broth and white beans get poured in.
The chicken, sausage and pork belly get nestled in the pan and slow roasted for an hour and fifteen minutes, uncovered, in a 300°F oven.
Fresh herbs like thyme and bay leaves help with flavoring, too.
The resulting casserole dish, or cassoulet, is a reduced and thickened, flavorful broth with plenty of fork tender meats, beans and vegetables.
What do I serve with a cassoulet?
I serve crusty sliced French bread or a side salad. This is filling.
All the heavy lifting is done in the slow braise, it’s not complicated. Time is the one you need to be aware of, but with a 90 minute recipe cut down from 5 hours, I ‘d say this delivers BIG on flavor and less on time than a typical cassoulet. Enjoy!
Easy French Cassoulet Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb pork belly cut into half inch pieces
- 2 lbs chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1 lb turkey sausage (See Note 1)
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ground clove
- 2 stalks of celery chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 4-15 oz cans white cannellini beans drained
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 1 bunch thyme 12 pieces, tied
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Season chicken liberally on skin sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat add the oil and brown the pork belly pieces. When golden brown and crispy, remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
- Place the chicken thighs skin side down and sear until a golden brown for several minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Brown the sausages on both sides in same skillet. Remove and set aide.
- Add the onion to the skillet and sauté for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and ground clove and cook another minute. Add the celery and carrots and cook for 3 minutes, scraping up the bottom of pan for any browned bits.
- Spread the sautéed vegetables to a large roasting pan, Dutch oven or casserole dish. Add the beans and chicken stock. Next add the cooked meats and any pan juices, pressing them into the beans and vegetables. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves.
- Cook, uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Remove thyme bundle and bay leaves. Season to taste. Place a chicken piece, a sausage and scoop of beans with vegetables on to each plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with crusty French bread.
- I used a spicy Louisiana turkey sausage, but feel free to use any turkey or pork sausage. Using a fork, prick several holes in the sausage on both sides.