Chicken Cassoulet

chicken cassoulet

This recipe was created by bariatric surgeon Dr. Joseph McPhee.

In 2011, while researching recipes for the second edition of my cookbook, I came across a unique dish by Chef Jon Ruzicka—chicken cassoulet—in the food column of a local newspaper. The dish gets its name from the pot it's traditionally baked in, the cassole, and is a classic French comfort food.

What appealed to me about this hearty-soupy stew was the great blend of proteins from chicken, pork and, yes, beans, that allowed for variation in preparation. After a number of reiterations, I developed this version of the traditional dish.

First, the classic chicken cassoulet uses duck confit (con-fee). Knowing my limitations, I wasn’t quite up to the challenge of making this most luxurious of French cuisine foods, which involves many hours of slowly cooking duck legs in their fat to fall-off-the-bone perfection then crisping the skin.

I went with lean chicken breast for this recipe, and further toned down the fat by not using butter and heavy cream. I also used butter beans instead of the of the traditional Tarbais (white) beans.

While many cassoulet recipes use a variety of different herbs, I liked the combination of thyme, rosemary and basil. Since meat (chicken, sausage, bacon) plays a main role in this dish I like to buy it at our local markets, knowing it is going to be fresh and delicious.

Some recipes add carrots and celery. I simply serve with a little brown rice and a side of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, diced
  • 1 cup Italian sausage, skin removed, cubed
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced
  • 1 large chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 15.5 ounce can butter beans (strained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup warm skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. In large skillet, fry the bacon and sausage together until crispy. Drain off fat and set aside.
  2. Clean fat from the skillet then add olive oil. Sauté chicken on medium high heat until browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  3. In same skillet, add onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  4. Stir in the white wine, thyme, rosemary, basil, salt and black pepper and simmer 5 minutes.
  5. Return bacon, sausage and chicken to the skillet and add the beans, tomato paste, and milk.
  6. Stir mixture together and continue cooking over medium heat for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information
Per one cup serving: 301 calories; 15.4g total fat (5.8g saturated; 2.4g polyunsaturated, 9.9g monounsaturated); 1,004mg sodium; 53.7mg cholesterol; 16.4g carbohydrate; 3.7g fiber; 2.9g sugars; 20g protein; 310mg potassium.

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author name

Joseph R. McPhee, MD

Joseph R. McPhee, MD, is a physician specializing in bariatric surgery with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.

Education: A graduate of New York University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. McPhee completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School and his residency at North Shore University Hospital.

Call: 717-544-2935

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