8 & $20: Sheet-Pan Chicken with Balsamic and Brussels Sprouts

Fresh thyme and a hint of honey add finesse to this nutritious, sweet-and-savory dinner paired with a Sangiovese

8 & $20: Sheet-Pan Chicken with Balsamic and Brussels Sprouts
Honey and balsamic bridge the gap between a young Italian red and traditionally hard-to-pair Brussels sprouts. (Julie Harans)
Jan 14, 2020

Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends.

The great thing about sheet-pan recipes is their versatility. Generous seasoning, a drizzle of fat and a high-temperature roast work well with nearly any combination of protein and vegetable. You can season these dishes simply, with just salt and pepper, or you can build a more complex flavor profile that complements all the components.

For this recipe, I brought in balsamic vinegar mixed with olive oil, a seamless pairing for both chicken and Brussels sprouts that adds dimension to the dish and helps encourage caramelization.

To cut down on dishwashing, I used a resealable plastic bag to coat the ingredients, not unlike the beloved Shake 'n Bake technique. Halving the Brussels sprouts will give them more opportunity to char, but to avoid burning, leave the especially small ones whole and discard any loose leaves. Arrange the chicken on top so the skin crisps and the rendered fat drips down onto the Brussels sprouts, then give everything a stir midway through roasting so it all cooks evenly.

The roasted Brussels sprouts get a light toss in honey while they’re still hot, enhancing the sweetness of the aged balsamic. (Save any excess vinegar mixture for drizzling on the finished dish.) Expect the veggies to be very tender; if you prefer a bit more bite, pull them from the pan about five minutes before the chicken is finished. For a fuller meal, you can serve this dish with any neutral grain or some crusty bread on the side.

A young Sangiovese from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Castelluccio Sangiovese Romagna Superiore Le More 2017, was light-bodied and bright enough to match with the chicken and intensify the balsamic notes, while fragrant herbal elements pleasantly played off the fresh thyme. Wine is typically tricky to pair with Brussels sprouts, often accentuating their funky earthiness, but the bold flavors of the charred, vinegary exterior, rounded out by honey, tie it all together. Once you’ve savored the meal with your pairing, enjoy perhaps the best part of this weeknight dish: the particularly easy clean-up.

Sheet-Pan Chicken with Balsamic and Brussels Sprouts


Pair with a lighter style of Sangiovese or other ripe-fruited, herb-tinged red, such as Castelluccio Sangiovese Romagna Superiore Le More 2017 (87 points, $13).


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Approximate food costs $20

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 8 thyme sprigs

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Add honey to a large, heatproof bowl and set aside. Whisk together oil and vinegar in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup of the mixture to a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag with the Brussels sprouts. Gently shake and flip the bag until the Brussels sprouts are fully coated. Spread them on two large baking pans and season with salt and pepper, reserving the bag.

2. Add the chicken to the bag with 1/4 cup of the oil and vinegar mixture and set the remainder aside. Seal the bag and gently flip the chicken thighs inside the bag until they’re fully coated. Place chicken on top of the Brussels sprouts in the pans, evenly spacing out the pieces and making sure some Brussels sprouts are nestled underneath. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer pans to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Mix around the Brussels sprouts and rotate the pans, then return them to the oven until the Brussels sprouts are tender and charred in spots, about 5 more minutes. Use tongs to transfer the Brussels sprouts to the bowl with the honey, toss and set aside. Tuck thyme sprigs under the chicken pieces and return to the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve with remaining oil and vinegar mixture to sprinkle over, if desired. Serves 4.

Recipes Cooking Pairings Red Wines Sangiovese Italy

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