Crispy Chicken and Kielbasa Cassoulet with Buttery Rye Breadcrumbs


If you have the time to do so, season your chicken thighs up to 24 hours in advance. Advance seasoning will allow their chicken-y flavor to better permeate the cassoulet. This recipe calls for kielbasa (a smoked polish sausage) because, well, I freakin’ love kielbasa, but any smoked sausage or even an Italian sausage will also work!

Active Time: 40 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins

Crispy Chicken and Kielbasa Cassoulet with Buttery Rye Breadcrumbs


  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig rosemary 


  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 24 ounce jar sauerkraut
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 15 ounce cans butter beans, gigante, cannellini or other white beans
  • 1 ½ tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs




  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs (about 1 ¾ lbs)
  • 4 ounces thick cut bacon
  • 13-14 ounces kielbasa sausage 
Crispy Chicken and Kielbasa Cassoulet with Buttery Rye Breadcrumbs 2

1. Do some prep:

  • Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Thinly slice 1 yellow onion.
  • Smash, peel, and thinly slice 10 garlic cloves.
  • Cut 14 ounces kielbasa on the bias into 1 ½” thick pieces.
  • Cut 4 ounces of bacon crosswise into 2” pieces.
  • Finely chop 1 sprig rosemary. You should have about 2 teaspoons chopped.
  • Season 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

2. Get cooking:

  • Arrange the chicken thighs in a large Dutch oven, skin side down, and set the Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, undisturbed, until the chicken thighs release easily from the bottom of the pot and the skin is deeply golden brown and crisp, 10-12 minutes.
  • While the chicken crisps, drain a 24 ounce jar of sauerkraut. You should have about 2 cups of drained sauerkraut.
  • Drain and rinse two 15 ounce cans white beans.
  • Once the chicken is crisp, transfer to a large plate or baking sheet, skin side up. (It will not yet be fully cooked--that’s totally ok.)
  • Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until sizzling but not yet crisp, 5 minutes. Scoot the bacon to the side of the pot. Add the sliced kielbasa, and cook, turning the kielbasa once until browned on all cut sides, 4-6 minutes total. Add the kielbasa to the plate of chicken.
  • Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and drained sauerkraut to the pot with a big pinch of salt, 4 teaspoons of smoked paprika, and lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium, stirring often until the vegetables have cooked down substantially and are beginning to stick to the pot in some places, 5-7 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and cook 2 minutes longer.
  • Add ¾ cup dry white wine, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 minute.
  • Stir in the drained beans, 2 cups water, and season to taste with salt.
  • Return the kielbasa to the pot and stir to incorporate. Nestle the chicken thighs in the stew, skin side up, so they’re fully submerged except for the skins.
  • Transfer to the oven (without a lid) and bake until bubbling, and thick enough to hold a layer of breadcrumbs without them sinking into the stew, 40-55 minutes. Note: this cook time will vary based on the size of your Dutch oven. The wider the pot, the faster the stew will reduce. If it needs more time, let it continue.

3. Meanwhile make the buttery rye breadcrumbs:

  • Coarsely chop 1½ tablespoons of caraway seeds.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Once it has melted, stir in the chopped caraway seeds and 1 cup panko breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring and tossing often to ensure even toasting, until all the breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl and season the breadcrumbs with salt.
  • After it’s been simmering for 40-55 minutes, and once thick, remove it from the oven and scatter the breadcrumbs over the surface of it, avoiding only the chicken skin so it remains poking out and crisp. Return to the oven and bake until bubbling again and breadcrumbs have merged with the stew, 5-7 minutes longer.

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