Bean-filled cassoulet is such a popular dish in parts of France that you can buy it in cans at the supermarket, just like you’d buy chicken-noodle soup here! Our version is simpler than the traditional kind, which has duck and pork in it, but it’s just as tasty. Serve this dish with a nice crusty loaf of whole-wheat bread.
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife (adult needed)
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Can opener
- Wooden spoon
- Large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven (one that holds at least 4 quarts)
- Dinner plate
- Small bowl
- 6 small bone-in chicken legs or thighs, or a combination
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 chicken or turkey sausages (such as andouille) smoked, precooked [12 to 16 oz. total], sliced into coins
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 (15-ounce) cans white cannellini beans, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
- 3 cups (24 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs (store-bought, or you can toast 1 slice of whole-wheat bread and whir it in a blender or food processor)
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Turn the oven on and set the heat to 450 degrees.
- Put the skillet or Dutch oven on the stove and set the heat to medium. When it is hot, add the chicken legs. (Be very careful: the hot oil might spatter.)
- Cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes, then use the tongs or spatula to carefully turn the legs over. Cook again, without stirring, another 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, take the chicken legs out, and put them on a plate (don’t worry if some of the skin is stuck in the pan).
- Reheat the pot over medium heat and add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, sausages, thyme, bay leaves, and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have turned a nice golden color, about 30 minutes.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, and chicken broth; stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat and use tongs to carefully nestle the chicken legs in the bean mixture. Once the oven temperature has reached 450 degrees, put the pot in the oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the bread crumbs, parsley, and remaining tablespoon of oil in the bowl and mix well. Take the pot out of the oven, sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over it, then put the pot back in the oven and bake until the bread crumbs are browned, about 15 minutes.
- Set aside for 10 minutes and serve. Or transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
OR ELSE Skip the chicken, and make this a simple, satisfying sausage and bean stew! Just start with the oil in the pot, and skip to step 5.