Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon
These oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts are sweet, tangy, and just a bit spicy. Glazed by the accompanying apple slices, crunchy bacon, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, this recipe is the perfect brussels sprout side dish for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or holiday meal.
Thanksgiving and Christmas Cast Iron Recipes
I can’t believe it’s the beginning of November already! As soon as we got in from Trick or Treating last night I declared to my family and all of Facebook that we were done with Halloween and moving right into Thanksgiving and Christmas. Watch out Hobby Lobby – I’m comin’ for ya! So with that in mind, I’ve been working hard on a “menu” for the blog for the upcoming months. And if all goes right, you’re looking at a new recipes EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next few months! I even have a week dedicated to beloved vintage recipes you may have forgotten. My family is about to be as stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey! So let’s start by diving into this skillet of Roasted Brussels Sprouts with apple and bacon! Because – YUM!
For the Best Results – Use the Best Ingredients
For the best ingredients you need to know when things are in season. Brussels sprouts, for example, are planted in the summer and harvested in the late fall to early winter. This makes for the perfect pairing with the last apple crop of the season. Of course you’ll want to consider the sugar content you’re adding to the recipe as well. You can use honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup. If using honey, use local honey for all the nutritional benefits. If you’re using maple syrup, use pure maple syrup. You’ll need less of it and will not be drizzling chemicals and other unknown ingredients on your garden fresh veggies. Win-win!
You’ll find that brussels sprouts are available year round at your local grocer. But pay special attention to them September – March as they are likely to go on sale during the peak season. Brussels sprouts love the cooler weather as members of the cabbage family. Other cold weather produce to keep an eye out for is kale, lettuce, carrots, and even beans.
How to Store Brussels Sprouts
Prior to cooking, you’ll want to store the sprouts in the refrigerator within a tied plastic bag. Like cilantro, brussels sprouts store best in cool temperatures with a bit of air trapped in the bag with it. You’ll want to find bright green, firm brussels sprouts. They should not be squishy. Many will encourage you to find brussels sprouts all of the same size. I’m a rebel in that I like the variant in sizes as that makes some of them extra crispy during cooking. I even pull some leaves off on purpose for the same effect.
How to Prep and Roast Brussels Sprouts
Start by cooking up your bacon. Then start trimming the end of the brussels that has the knob. This is the part that was attached to the stock of the plant. It’s hard and woody, and not something you’ll enjoy eating. Do these at the same time to save yourself some prep time.
Next, cut them in half length wise so they can lay flat in the skillet and crisp up nicely. If you really enjoy the crisp, charred, crunchy leaves like I do this is where you’ll want to pull off a few extra of those outside leaves.
Now you’ll toss the halved brussels in a large bowl with the reserved bacon grease and seasonings. Give them a really good toss to coat as much as possible. They’re going to be relatively undisturbed during the cooking process. So wherever you get spices, for the most part, that’s where they will stay.
Next, to really achieve that brown crispiness pour the brussels sprouts into a 12 inch cast iron skillet and flip as many as you can halved side down and touching the skillet.
Finally, get these gorgeous green creatures into a 400F oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. With about 10 minutes left, add the apple, shallot, pecans, and maple syrup. Give a slight toss and return to the oven. Once the skillet has finished its cooking time, top with crumbled bacon and drizzle with some fresh lemon juice. Do not do this during the cooking process as it can lead to a really bitter taste.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Refrigerated, this roasted brussels sprouts dish can stay in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Reheating is as easy as throwing the mixture back into the skillet, no extra oil required since there will be liquid from the apples that leach out naturally, and pop it into a 350F for 5-10 minutes. Freezing, while technically possible, doesn’t provide the greatest results in texture. This is not a dish that you’ll make ahead for the holidays. This one is a dish best served and enjoyed fresh the day of. However, you can blanch a large batch of just whole brussels sprouts and freeze on a sheet tray in the freezer prior to making this dish and then have access to fresh brussels sprouts all year long. Just a thought.
What to Serve with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
While of course turkey and ham are the obvious choices here, these roasted brussels sprouts are the perfect fall companion to venison heart, pan fried pork chops, shredded chicken, and meatloaf! Of course a side of focaccia never hurt to round out the dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Bacon
- 12 inch cast iron skillet
- bacon screen
- large mixing bowl
- wooden spoon or spatula
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 pound brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 Honeycrisp apple cored and diced, skin on
- 1 large shallot sliced to 1/8 inch in thickness
- 1/2 cup pecans halved or chopped
- 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice optional
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- While the oven is preheating, cook the bacon in the skillet. Remove and set on a paper towel to drain. Remove the skillet from the heat and reserve the excess bacon grease to a small bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl toss the brussels sprouts with bacon grease, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Once fully coated, pour into the skillet and fix the brussels sprouts to be halved side down and on the skillet as best as possible. Transfer to the oven for 40 minutes.
- With 10 minutes left, add the shallots, diced apple, pecans, and maple syrup. Toss and return to oven.
- Add lemon juice and crumbled bacon. Lightly toss and serve in the skillet or in a serving bowl while warm.