Black Eyed Pea Cassoulet

Traditional French cassoulet is a deliciously slow-cooked casserole with various meats and cannellini beans that is cooked in a Dutch oven. 

This recipe for black eyed pea cassoulet puts a twist on the traditional recipe for French cassoulet by using black eyed peas and sausage.  

Why you will love this black-eyed pea cassoulet recipe

French cooking techniques are often viewed as difficult to master, yet full of flavor and texture.  I have a controversial view on the matter, that French food can easily be mastered and simplified, while still retaining all of the beautiful complexities of flavor that so often accompanies French cuisine. 

Consider it a done-deal that I have simplified this recipe for the sake of our precious time.  Normally, French cassoulet cooks all day and has several different types of meat in it, but I am cutting out some of those steps and using sausage, while we will still retain the lovely herbed flavors that traditional French food has mastered over the centuries. 

Tips

Some recipes call for soaking the black eyed peas in water for several hours before cooking.  I don’t think that this is necessary in this dish, as long as you give yourself about an hour of time for cooking the black eyed peas, they should cook through easily without pre-soaking them. 

Ingredients

Traditional French cassoulet is an herbed meat and bean dish that is slow cooked to perfection and full of deep flavors that meld together into perfection. 

 “Cassoulet” is the French version of an American casserole and also resembles a stew, but is much healthier and more natural.  It does not have the processed, canned soup mixes, or cracker toppings, or even cheese, as the American counterpart uses so often. 

It would be more accurate to say that a “casserole” is the American version of French cassoulet that is adulterated with processed foods. 

In this black eyed pea cassoulet we are going to stick to the basics and refrain from using highly processed foods. It tastes better and also leaves you feeling better after you eat it. 

There are so many cassoulet recipes out there and they all seem to call for different meats.  Some are full of bacon and salt pork, others are made with chicken that falls off the bones, and still some recipes are made with duck.   For our simplified recipe, we are going to be using Andouille sausage (or any pork sausage you have) and a little bit of bacon, because bacon makes everything better, and sausage cooks faster than chicken or duck (we are simplifying, remember?). We will use pre-cooked and shredded chicken.

Andouille sausage is a French smoked pork sausage that is used in many creole dishes.  If you don’t have Andouille sausage, you can substitute it with Italian pork sausage or kielbasa.

If you do not have “herbs de provence” you can simply add some marjoram, thyme, bay leaf and fennel seeds into your pot instead.  But the mixed spices that come in a jar of “herbs de provence” are so much easier than adding all of those other spices. But by all means, don’t skimp out on the herbs!  That is what creates the depth of flavor in so many French dishes!

These are the ingredients for black eyed pea cassoulet:

  • Andouille sausage (or Italian sausage if you can’t find any)
  • Cooked shredded chicken (or turkey)
  • Bacon
  • Dried black eyed peas
  • Dry white wine (optional)
  • Chicken stock
  • Leek
  • Carrot
  • Yellow onion
  • Shallots
  • Fresh garlic
  • Butter
  • Rosemary
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How to make black eyed pea cassoulet

Let’s begin by finely dicing the carrot, onion, and the shallot. Wash and finely chop up the fresh leek, using the white and green parts. Mince the cloves of garlic.  

Dice up the bacon and slice the smoked sausage up into bite size pieces.  Heat up a large Dutch oven or pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the bacon and brown it until it is crisps. 

 

Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside but leave the bacon grease!  We want the bacon grease to stay in our pot for sauteing the vegetables and for flavor.

Carefully add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.  Add the cut-up sausage, diced carrots and onions and sauté them for 4-5 minutes until the onions and carrots begin to soften.  Add the shallots, leeks and minced onion and give a stir, sauteing for just a minute. 

 

Carefully add the white wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping it with a wooden spoon to get up all of those tasty bits of bacon. 

Add the spices and stir it all together. Pour in the chicken stock and add the black eyed peas. 

Cover the pot with a lid and simmer it for 1 hour.   After an hour, check the pot to see if you need to add any more liquid.  If it is becoming dry, add some water.  

The consistency of the cassoulet should be somewhere between a casserole and a stew.  If it is very runny, or more like a soup, remove the lid and let it simmer without it for another 15 minutes.

If it is still runny add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a small bowl, take a ladle-full of the hot liquid from the cassoulet and whisk it into the cornstarch.  This is called a slurry and it will help to thicken the cassoulet, if need be. 

After there are no lumps left in the cornstarch slurry, pour it into the cassoulet and stir. 

Since some cassoulet recipes call for meat with bones (chicken, beef bones or duck), they naturally have collogen in them and tend to thicken up easier, but since we are using meat without bones, it may not thicken up as easily.  It all just depends on how long you cook it and how much the black-eyes peas absorb.  

After the cassoulet has cooked for about an hour and you have reached the desired consistency, take a bite to check the doneness of the black eyed peas.  If you have softened up, then you can serve it up!

Top the cassoulet with fresh chopped parsley and serve it while it’s hot!

Serving Suggestions

Black-eyed pea cassoulet is best served when hot with a side of crusty French bread.

FAQ’s

What do you eat with cassoulet?

Crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment to cassoulet, along with a good white wine like a Chardonay. 

What is Cassoulet?

Cassoulet is a French dish made with white beans and an assortment of various meats.  The meats can vary from dish to dish and can include salted pork like sausage, bacon, pork belly, and also other meats like chicken, duck or turkey. 

It is made in a Dutch oven and usually takes a long time of preparation and cooking in order to get the thick consistency somewhere between a stew and a casserole. 

What is the difference between a casserole and cassoulet?

A casserole is an American dish that is baked in the oven and usually consists of condensed soups, meat, cheese and some sort of rice or potato.  It may also be topped with cracker crumbs or corn flakes with butter drizzled on top. French cassoulet is quite different, although it is thick, it is not full of processed foods, soups or cheeses, but rather is made with herbs, white beans and various meats. French cassoulet is not traditionally baked in an oven but cooked on the stovetop in a large pot (as opposed to a shallow casserole dish). 

Black Eyed Pea Cassoulet

Print Recipe
Black Eyed Pea Cassoulet
Course Main Course
Keyword black eyed peas
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Equipment

  • Large pot or Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 lb black-eyed peas dried
  • 1 lb pork sausage andouille, kielbasa, or Italian sausage
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken or turkey
  • 5-6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 leek
  • 1 shallot
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Finely dice the onion and chop the carrot into tiny bite sized pieces and set aside.
  • Finely chop the leek and shallot and mince the garlic. Chop the bacon into small pieces and slice the sausage into bite size chunks.
  • Heat the Dutch oven or large pot on the stove over medium heat and add the bacon, browning it until it is cooked. Remove the bacon and set it aside, reserving the bacon grease in the pan.
  • Add the sausage and brown it, remove it and set it aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and add the onions and carrots, sautéing them for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Put the spices, chopped leek, shallot and minced garlic in the pot also and sauté for another minute.
  • Carefully deglaze the bottom of the Dutch oven by pouring the wine into the pot. With a wooden spoon, stir the pot constantly while scraping all of the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the black eyed peas to the Dutch oven along with the chicken stock. Cover and simmer the mixture for about an hour.
  • After it has simmered for about an hour, check the black eyed peas for doneness and add the sausage, bacon and shredded chicken to the pot.
  • The consistency of this cassoulet should be somewhere between a stew and a casserole. It shouldn’t be too thick, nor should it be runny like a soup. Add more liquid if need be.
  • If it is too runny, remove the lid and simmer it for another 15 minutes. If it is still too runny, put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into a small mixing bowl and ladle some cooking liquid into the bowl, whisking it until it is smooth. Pour it into the pot and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Once the beans are done and the consistency is thick, serve it while it is hot, sprinkling fresh chopped parsley on top for garnish. Enjoy!