Cast iron roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon and cranberries

My gal pal Chef Alli has inspired me to break out my cast iron and use it to its full potential. She has a great post that outlines the tips she's passed on to me. Check them out before you dive into making this recipe. I will also say that I found my large cast iron pan at an antique store so it was well seasoned and high quality. Could be your reason for a girls weekend shopping trip!

I will admit it; I have not always been a big fan, or even a fan at all, of Brussel sprouts. However an old roommate of mine opened my mind to roasting them. Oven roasting helps them absorb great flavors, but then crisping up for a perfect side. 

Try this recipe out and let me know what you think, good or bad!

1.5-2 lbs of fresh Brussel sprouts
3 T butter (I used 1 T cinnamon & sugar butter and 2 T sweet cream salted butter from Hildebrand Farms Dairy)
1 1/2 T Balsamic vinegar (I like to keep high quality vinegar for special occasions)
2 T Olive oil
3 strips of bacon
1/2 c dried cranberries
Salt & pepper (I like large flake sea salt for this and fresh cracked pepper)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep your Brussel sprouts by trimming the ends and then slice in half. This allows the flavors to be more absorbed into the sprouts. At the same time boil a couple cups of water and then remove from heat and add your cranberries to re-hydrate them.

Turn on your burner to high and let your cast iron get hot. Then add the butters and let them melt down. Snip your bacon strips into small pieces; I use kitchen shears for quick work. Let the bacon start to render and that will add even more flavor to your pan. As the bacon is browning add in the Brussel sprouts.

Once your sprouts are in the pan quickly add in the vinegar, oil and salt and pepper. Add in your re-hydrated cranberries and toss all the goodies cooking in your pan to ensure they are well coated.

Move your pan to your heated oven to roast for 30-45 minutes. I like to take a spatula and flip or rotate halfway through the cooking.

It's great to serve with cinnamon and sugar roasted pumpkin seeds on top.