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Inspired by the traditional French dish, this chicken and sausage cassoulet is rich, hearty and perfect for cold winter days and loaded with preserved tomatoes.
The last few weeks has been a little chaotic. I don’t know if it’s the holiday season or the fact that I’ve been a little under the weather and not feeling like doing much, let alone cook…
So I finally forced myself out of bed and got ingredients for a special meal. How special? French special, and made with everything he likes: sausage, chicken, beans and lots of love!
The chosen dish, a Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet, is a spin off of the French Cassoulet, a rich slow cooked casserole stew that is usually made with different parts of pork and duck confit.
The cassoulet originated in the south of France (province of Languedoc) and is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole: a deep and round earthenware pot with slanting sides.
*MAJOR FOOD NERD ALERT* – Rumor has it that the first cassoulet originated in the city of Castelnaudary, which was under siege by the British during the Hundred Years War. The townspeople contributed with whatever ingredients they had on hand to make a large stew to nourish and give strength to their defenders. Apparently, the cassoulet was so fortifying that the soldiers easily dispelled the invaders, saving the city from occupation.
Now, obviously this is probably a romanticized version of the origins of the dish, and nobody can testify to its veracity. But you guys know how much I love a good old food tale, don’t you?
Since the cassoulet’s composition is based on availability, you will find several different versions depending on the town. And each one believes they make the true cassoulet!
Well, my version might be a little far from the classics, but it is delicious nonetheless and way more accessible. I used bacon, pork sausage, chicken thighs and canellini beans (although you should definitely go for Tarbais beans, if you can find it!). Ingredients that you can find at any grocery store or that you might already have in your pantry!
Many versions don’t ask for tomatoes, but I just can’t resist adding some Pomì chopped tomatoes to make my Sausage and Chicken Cassoulet even more hearty and comforting.
Pomì is one of my favorite packaged tomato brands and has become a staple and a trusted brand for all of those who seek premium quality Italian tomatoes that are conveniently sealed in a BPA-free, stay-fresh package.
Nothing beats having fresh product that is ready to use anytime you want to add the fresh taste of Italian tomatoes to all your favorite recipes, especially in the winter when it’s so hard to find good, fresh tomatoes.
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For the beans:
- 1 pound dried white beans Tarbais, canellini or northern, soaked overnight
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled
- 1 large onion peeled
- 15 cloves
- 1 smoked ham hock
- Bouquet garni suggestion: rosemary, thyme, bay leaves
- 8 cups water
For the cassoulet:
- 1 pound bacon diced
- 4-6 links about 1 pound andouille sausage
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup Pomì chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup dry white wine
Breadcrumb topping (optional)
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Start by studding the onion with the cloves. Combine the beans, carrot chunks, garlic, onion with cloves, smoked ham hock and bouquet garni in a large pot or stockpot. Add the water and mix well. Heat over high heat until boiling and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1.5 hours OR until the beans are almost al dente.
- When the beans are done, drain, reserving the water and getting rid of the veggies, ham hock and bouquet garni.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- While the beans are cooking, in a large casserole pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a plate and reserve. Then, working in batches, brown the sausage and the chicken, about 2-3 minutes per side. You can add olive oil as needed. Remove the cooked chicken and sausage to the plate with the bacon.
- Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, if needed, and sauté the onion and garlic, over medium heat, until fragrant and translucent. Add the drained beans, reserved bacon, chopped tomatoes and white wine and cook until the wine reduces slightly. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper.
- Ladle the bean broth into the casserole dish and add the meat and chicken, distributing evenly. The meat and beans should level with the liquid. If you have too much liquid, just remove some.
- If you want to add the breadcrumb topping, combine breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread the topping evenly over the cassoulet and bake, uncovered, until bubbling and golden, about 1 hour.
- Serve immediately
Olivia is the writer, photographer and recipe developer behind Olivia's Cuisine. Born and raised in Brazil and currently living in NYC, she draws inspiration from her grandmother's recipes and is always looking for fun ways to feed her family (aka husband and dog!).