I highly recommend these Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish if you’re ready to jump headfirst into fall ~ the sausages are briefly grilled, then gently simmered in the slow cooker while the cranberry/jalapeno/apple/onion relish waits patiently in the fridge. Don’t miss out on this!
Our daughter and her husband were here (from Madison Wisconsin) over the Labor Day weekend for a wedding, and it was a treat to have the whole family together, if only for a little while. Since the world’s largest brat fest takes place in Madison, brats seemed a natural thing to serve. These were super popular, in fact we loved the relish so much we couldn’t pile it on high enough..bits were flying all over the place as everybody tried to maximize their relish to brat ratio. Definitely serve extra alongside each brat so nobody feels cheated. The relish is good enough to eat by itself, which we did, by the spoonful.
I was just about to make another batch of my Slow Cooked Cider Brats with Apple Onion Relish when the idea to use cranberries popped into my head. I had 2 bags left in the freezer from last year so I pulled one out to defrost. Cranberries are sturdy and do really well in the freezer, I was amazed at how fresh and firm mine were after defrosting.
TIP: Make sure to buy extra bags of fresh cranberries during their short fall/winter season. Pop them straight in the freezer, there’s no need to wrap them further. They can be used frozen, or thawed, in all kinds of recipes during the rest of the year.
The Spicy Cranberry Relish is an irresistible mix of fresh cranberries, crisp fall apples, onion, and jalapeno. Don’t be afraid of the raw cranberries, I offset their tartness with the sweetness of the apple, and all the flavors complement each other perfectly. You can use it on all sort of things, too, on and off the grill…I’m already planning steak tacos…yum!
Brats, or Bratwurst, is a German type of sausage that has a finer texture than regular sausage. Brats have a subtle hint of nutmeg, and sometimes marjoram, they’re a staple of Octoberfests, tailgating parties, and a current favorite of mine. My preferred way to cook brats also happens to be the easiest…I just brush them with a little olive oil and brown them on all sides. Then I load them in the crock pot and cover with either beer, cider, stock, or broth. In this case I used beef broth. They will slow braise and be ready to go whenever you are.
TIP: Grilling the brats first on a grill or stove top grill pan gives them nice color. You can then leave them for hours in the slow cooker to finish cooking, and when you serve them, they’ll have that fresh off the grill look!
The cranberries tint the onions and apples a bright pink so this is a very festive relish!
- 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 or 2 jalapenos
- 1 medium apple
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 6 brats
- olive oil for brushing
- 32 ounce carton of beef broth
- 6 buns (I love pretzel buns)
- Finely chop the cranberries and put them in a bowl.
- Finely chop the onion and add to the bowl.
- Finely mince the jalapenos. For more heat use the seeds, for less heat, discard them. Add to the bowl.
- Peel and finely chop the apple, toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Add to the bowl.
- Toss all the ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
- For the brats, heat a grill pan over medium high heat until hot.
- Prick the skin of the brats with the tip of a small knife. Brush with olive oil.
- Place the brats on the hot grill and brown on all sides.
- Put the broth in a slow cooker and turn on high. When the brats are browned, add them to the pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, then reduce heat to low until ready to serve.
- Serve the brats on buns with lots of relish.
- This relish must be made with fresh or frozen cranberries…cooked, canned or dried cranberries won’t work.
- The relish will keep for a week in the refrigerator.
- Use the leftover broth that the brats simmer in for soup.
don’t forget to pin this Spicy Cranberry Relish!