Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Grilled Chicken Brats with Jalapeno Relish

Whether it’s tailgate time or casual dinnertime, grilled bratwurst sausages are tasty and easy to prepare—a littler lighter too, if you choose chicken brats instead of pork. But let’s face it: A lot of the flavor from grilled dogs of any kind comes from the topping. Skip the ho-hum mustard, ketchup, and onions and create your own big, bold-flavored relish with all fresh ingredients. All it needs is time.

It doesn’t take much to pickle chopped vegetables—vinegar, sugar, and salt will do it—and the bright, tangy taste of pickled relish really brings grilled brats to life. The heat of the jalapenos is tamed by the brine, so don’t worry about this dish being too spicy. There’s just a pleasant little kick.

With chicken sausages and a fresh-vegetable topping, these brats are nothing to feel guilty about.

Note: I used soft pretzel rolls because they have good flavor on their own, but use whatever brat rolls you prefer. I also smeared a bit of whole-grain mustard on them as a base for the brats, but the sausages and relish alone would work just fine.

Pretzel Rolls
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 4 jalapenos, stemmed and chopped (seeded, for less heat)
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes
  • olive oil, for grilling
  • 4 chicken bratwurst sausages (about 1-1/4 lbs total)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pretzel sausage rolls (or other sausage rolls)
  • whole-grain mustard, for serving
Relish Vegetables
Prepared Vegetables
  1. Combine both vinegars, sugar, salt, and celery seed in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.
Vinegar Mixture
  1. Combine the jalapenos, celery, onion, cucumber, and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Pour in the vinegar mixture, stirring and submerging the vegetables as much as possible. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours. (For extra pickled flavor, refrigerate several hours or overnight.)
  2. Drain the vegetables well and place in a food processor. Pulse several times to chop to a chunky consistency.
Combined Vegetables
Vegetables Beginning to Pickle 
Pickled Vegetables
Drained Vegetables
Ready to Chop 
Chopped Vegetables
Jalapeno Relish
  1. Light a grill (or heat a grill pan) for medium-high heat and rub the grill grate with oil. Sprinkle the sausages with salt and pepper and grill, turning several times, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes total, depending on size.
Seasoned Chicken Bratwurst
Beginning to Grill 
After Turning 
Grilled Sausages
Fill the buns with the sausages and serve with mustard and jalapeno relish.

Grilled Chicken Brats with Jalapeno Relish

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