This Sausage, White Bean and Kale Cassoulet Recipe is winter comfort food at its finest! I use chicken sausage, lots of kale and only a little bit of cheese on top of the polenta so this meal is a healthy and gluten free dinner that the whole family will enjoy.
A year or so ago, a friend invited us over for a similar meal and I just remember sinking deep into my chair and enjoying big spoonfuls of this flavorful and comforting stew of sorts. Since that evening I’ve recreated the dinner countless times, finally landing on our favorite version.
We start the stew on the stovetop then finish it off in the oven, hence the name cassoulet. A cassoulet is traditionally a slow cooked casserole with meat and white beans. I decided to top the cassoulet with rounds of polenta then shredded parmesan to make it a little more hearty. And you really can’t go wrong with sausage, white beans and kale!
I’ve already made this a few times for friends and family this season. Once doubling the recipe when we had a little gathering at our house and another time I doubled it and froze half before baking it then we had the second portion a week or so later and didn’t have to prepare dinner for the night!
About the Recipe
• I use chicken sausage for the recipe but pork sausage may also be used. I go for uncooked, Italian, chicken sausage.
• I’ve found that the right amount of white beans for this dish is 1 1/2 cans. I never want to waste so we use the remaining half can in soup later in the week. Rinse and drain all of the beans before using in this dish. The second half-can of beans is used as a natural thickener to make this dish more hearty. I use a potato masher to mash up this portion of the beans. Put the other full can of beans in the dish whole (unmashed).
• I always keep a little brick of Parmesan in my cheese drawer to top off dishes like this. I don’t use the pre-grated Parmesan.
• Pre-cooked polenta comes in a clear sphere casing. It can be found in the pasta isle usually (non-refrigerated). To cut it, slice off one end then push it out of the casing. Slice this sphere into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds with a sharp knife.
• I have baked this for as short as 10 minutes in the oven to 4o minutes. Since everything is cooked through you don’t have to worry so much about how long its cooking just make sure it’s at least bubbly before removing from the oven. The longer you keep it in the oven the more the flavors come through so if you have a little extra time, go for 20-30 minutes.
• A cassoulet isn’t just a fancy way of saying casserole, it is traditionally a French slow cooked casserole with meat and white beans.
This recipe is definitely a winner if you’re having guests over or just want to cook something that you’re ensured your family will love. Find a reason to share it this holiday season!
Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet
- 1 lb chicken sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon each thyme & rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups, kale, chopped
- 1 18 ounce roll pre-cooked polenta*, sliced in 1/2 in rounds
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove chicken sausage from any casings. Heat up a oven-safe skillet on medium high heat. Add sausage and cook, letting the sausage brown as it cooks (don't stir until it browns on one side then flip and start breaking it apart with a spatula. Cook for about 4 minutes on one side then flip and cook additional 4 or so minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate
- Keep any grease from the sausage in the pan and turn the heat to medium. Add in the diced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add carrots and continue to cook for a few more minutes then add in the diced tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon t scrape the bottom of the pan and flavor of the sausage or onion.
- Add in the broth and all of the seasonings. Add in 1 can of the beans. Use a potato masher to mash up half of the second can of beans and add that to the mix. (save the rest of the can of beans to use in a soup later in the week).
- Add the sausage back into the pan then add in the kale and toss in the mixture to quickly wilt the kale (1-2 minutes).
- Top the skillet with the rounds of polenta and season the top of the dish with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes (at least until it's bubbly). Turn on to broil for 1-2 minutes at the end of cooking to crisp up the top of the polenta. Serve hot.