These are my family's favorite Brussels sprouts, hands-down. A few tricks make them especially delicious: starting with a rocket hot sheet pan so the bacon and sprouts cook at the same rate and get ultra crispy; and coating the cooked sprouts with balsamic-cranberry glaze. The cranberry sauce rounds out the sharp edges of balsamic vinegar and lends an addictive sweet-tart-tangy quality that's perfect with smoky bacon and the slightly bitter sprouts. (Taste the reduced balsamic before and after adding the cranberry sauce to understand the difference the cranberries make!) —EmilyC
4 to 6 (or more if part of a big meal)
Brussels sprouts, rinsed and dried well, trimmed, and halved (or quartered if large)
kosher salt, to taste
Aleppo pepper, or lesser amount of red pepper flakes (to taste)
large or 2 small shallot (about 4 ounces total) thinly sliced; about 1 cup in total
thinly sliced bacon, 1/4-inch-diced (pancetta can be substituted)
Place an empty sheet pan on the bottom rack of oven. Heat to 450°F.
In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts (and any loose, unblemished leaves) with olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, Aleppo pepper, shallot, and bacon (making sure to separate the cubes of bacon for better crisping).
Carefully remove the heated sheet pan from oven. Add the Brussels sprouts mixture, using tongs to arrange the sprouts cut-side down. (Alternatively, toss the Brussels sprouts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, arrange them cut-side down, and transfer the parchment from the cookie sheet to the heated sheet pan.) Roast until softened and deeply browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. (Check the sprouts halfway through roasting; if they're already deeply browned on the bottom, stir a few times and return to oven.)
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a simmer and reduce by half (note: this only takes 2 to 3 minutes, so don’t walk away!). Add cranberry sauce and butter, lower heat, and cook another 30 seconds to a minute (stirring constantly) until butter and cranberry sauce are well integrated; break up any whole cranberries with the back of your spoon.
Pour the glaze over the Brussels sprouts on the sheet pan and toss well. Return the pan to the oven for another minute or two to set the glaze. Serve warm.