cassoulet, a frenchified version of chili for let's lunch

For this month's virtual lunch date, the  crew brings you a slew of posts dedicated to chili. When I heard this month's challenge for let's lunch was on chili I was thrilled. I've been watching a whole lot of Top Chef, Texas and thinking about the various types of chili I could make (and eat... definitely eat). This would be the perfect opportunity to experiment. 

But then I went to the freezer and saw that we still have four individual servings of this Thanksgiving turkey chili. The containers leered at me with eyebrow lids raised, as if to ask, "Really, you are going to make MORE chili?"

So I stepped away from the freezer and thought about what I could make that was slightly different. And then it came to me. Cassoulet. For those of you that aren't familiar with cassoulet, it's a French peasant type of chili made with white beans, duck, sausage, and whatever scraps of meat you have lying around the house (okay maybe not the house but definitely in the kitchen). I've always wanted to make it so I decided it was time.

Feeling less guilty, I peered back in my fridge and freezer, seeking out the meats we had on hand. I ended up with chicken breast, pork roast, sausage, and bacon. "That'll do," I thought. I prepared this soup the night before and threw everything in the crockpot. When I awoke, the kitchen windows were all steamed up, the smells of tender pork wafting from the crockpot. I snuck a bite from the bubbling crock pot. The meat practically fell apart on my fork and melted in my mouth. The cassoulet itself had a nice smoky flavor and I loved being surprised by the flavors in each bite. I daresay I made enough to feed to entire let's lunch crew. Anyone want to come over? :)

cassoulet, a frenchified version of chili for let's lunch

Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 8 hours
Total time: 8 hours 45 mins
Serves: 8


  • 1 pound dried white beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 lb spicy or garlic sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-in slices
  • 1 pound pork loin roast, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin, and cut into 1-in pieces
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh time leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 3/4 c chicken stock or broth
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley


  1. Place beans in a pot full of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cover for 30 minutes.
  2. In a deep skillet or dutch oven, cook bacon slices over medium heat. After most of the fat has rendered, about 5-6 minutes, remove pieces of bacon. Add 6 or so pieces of sausage, pork, and chicken in batches, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Brown each side evenly. Place browned pieces into the crockpot.
  3. Remove pan from heat and pour bacon/meat grease into a heat safe measuring cup. Add enough vegetable oil in the measuring cup to equal 1/4 cup. Add oil back to pan and return to heat. Saute onions and garlic on medium to medium-low heat with the thyme, bay leaf, cloves, and black pepper. Stir constantly until onions are soft. Add white wine and increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon.
  4. Reserving about 1 cup of water, drain beans. Add the beans to the crockpot. Pour the white wine and onion reduction into the crockpot along with chicken stock, and diced tomatoes. You should have enough liquid to cover the meat, and beans. If not add the reserved bean cooking water.
  5. Cook in the crockpot on low for 8 - 10 hours.
  6. Top with parsley, toasted bread crumbs and serve!

Check out the chili dishes made by the let's lunch crew here:


What a great idea, Charissa. It looks quite delicious! ; )

OK, now you've got me thinking that I need a Crock pot -- this looks so delicious! And easy! Thanks for sharing...

wow, talk about kicking it up a notch. Now I know what to do with all that leftover turkey in the freezer. would it be a bad thing to serve chili twice in one week? :D

You are SO right - cassoulet is the French chili! I love it, but never get around to making it. I'm with you on the CORN, by the way. It's always a CORN-y night around my house.

I think this is a brilliant version of chili - you have the pork and beans and the breadcrumbs sub for the cornbread. I've always wanted to make cassoulet - you've inspired me!

I love cassoulet but I've never tried making it at home. You've just inspired me. I don't have a crockpot, how long do you suggest I cook it stovetop? BTW, I'm also C.O.R.N.-ing, perhaps we should create a tag for that, eh?

Hi Pat!

I would say about 2 hours, covered, on medium-low on the stove-top, or just until the beans are tender.

Yes, a tag would be fun. :)

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