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If there's a single food that universally divides childhood from adulthood, it has to be the poor old Brussels sprout. If you weren't commanded to "eat your sprouts!" as a kid, either you were very lucky, or your parents were remarkably good cooks. And there lies the key: With the right technique, even the staunchest hater of Brussels sprouts can be made to see just how delicious the smallest brassica can be.
For maximum flavor, we like getting a deeply browned surface on the sprouts, while cooking them enough to soften them through to the inside. Plus, if you can infuse the sprouts' leafy folds with extra flavor—say, from roasted meats—even better. All this points toward a one-pan solution, with meat and vegetables cooked together in a skillet (or on a rimmed baking sheet). That leads us to this recipe, in which we roast chicken, fennel-spiced Italian sausage, and Brussels sprouts with thinly sliced lemon, all of it bathed in the chicken and sausage juices, along with a flavorful Dijon mustard rub that we apply to the chicken. The lemon slices mellow as they cook and brown, making them a completely edible part of this dish—plus, their juices add some much-needed acidity to balance out the meaty richness.
Our cast iron skillet is easily the most heavily used pan in our kitchen, and we've probably made more variations on skillet chicken than we have any other kind of recipe. Often, we cook the chicken skin side down first to ensure that it's crisp, then flip it for the rest of the cooking time. This time, though, we use two tricks to get the skin browned in a single step. First, there's honey in the rub, which works to brown and crisp the skin. Second, the oven is on high heat, which speeds up and intensifies the crisping and browning of the skin.
We prefer a traditional Italian pork sausage here (either hot or "sweet" is fine), since it will stay juicy, but you could substitute a different version. Just be careful with chicken or turkey sausages, as they tend to dry out much more quickly than the pork variety.
If you're using a baking sheet, you're unlikely to fill it up completely. But with a skillet, make sure not to pile the sprouts up on each other too much—you want them to roast, not steam.
We scatter the sprouts in a single layer in the skillet, then nestle the chicken and sausage on top. Everything should be done just about at the same time, but if for some reason your chicken and sausage are done and the sprouts need a little longer to brown, you can just transfer the meat to a plate for a few minutes while the vegetables finish up.
You could serve this with a side like mashed potatoes, but honestly, there's a whole meal right there in the pan. I'm not even going to remind you to eat your sprouts, because you won't need to be told twice.