Recently we got some bratwurst from one of my in-laws’ ranch pigs, and I was so excited! We typically do not buy any meat from the grocery store — if we do, it has to be a pretty special occasion — so sometimes I miss the variety of things you can buy that the store, that aren’t typically ordered when we take meat into the butcher. I never thought I’d see the day when I considered it a treat to be sent home with some bratwurst, but alas, here we are.
I was craving a good ol’ ballpark bratwurst – you know, with the onions and the mustard and everything, but we don’t regularly keep any buns on hand, so I decided to make it a little healthier and turn it into a salad.
CARAMELIZE THOSE ONIONS
You’ll want to first get your sausages and your onions cooking at the same time. Slice a medium to large white onion into rounds, and then cut those rounds in half. Heat your skillet up over medium heat, add in the onions, and then nestle those sausages in the onions. Sausages usually take longer to cook than other meats because you want them to be done on the inside, and while everyone likes a little bit of a crunch, we aren’t looking to sear the outside of our sausages. Lower heat means they cook more evenly and all the way through. Which is why it is perfect to cook them with onions, so the onions can caramelize over that low and slow heat.
WHILE THE GOOD STUFF IS COOKING…
Make the rest of your salad! It’s truly so easy – just de-stem your kale, and then chop it into about 2″ sized pieces. You can of course, alter this to however big or small you prefer your kale. Now while a lot of people have you massage your kale before eating it in a salad (this breaks down the fibers making it a little softer, aka not as stiff and “kale-y” to eat), I don’t want you to do that. I want you to wait! We are going to make a vinaigrette type pan sauce with all those lovely brown bits from onions, and it will do the work of breaking down your kale for you.
THE MAGIC SAUCE
If you aren’t familiar with what deglazing a pan means, the basic version of it is adding some liquid to a hot pan to get the brown bits off the bottom. Typically you do this with something acidic to make a sauce like vinegar, wine, lemon juice, etc. In this case, we’re going to add some distilled white vinegar to our pan to help scrape up those brown bits. It’s allll of the caramelized goodness and full of flavor that will coat our kale. Once you scrape to your liking, add in your oil, and mix together. Make sure you pour immediately over your kale while it is a bit warm, as that will also help break your kale down.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Finally, you know what to do. Slice your brats up and put them on top your kale, add your onions, and get some mustard on that bad boy. If I have it on hand, I also add sauerkraut. Get those ballpark toppings on there and enjoy!
Bratwurst Kale Salad
- Fry pan
- 1 lb Pork bratwurst sausage
- 1 bunch Kale I like lacinato, but you can use any kind
- 1 White onion Medium
- 1/4 cup White vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- Mustard for dressing
- Cut your onion into slices, and then halve your slices into half circles.
- Heat your pan over medium heat, and add your onions and bratwurst to the pan.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until insides are no longer pink, flipping halfway in between.
- While the sausage is cooking, chop your kale.
- When the sausage and onions are done cooking, remove from the pan and turn off the heat.
- Add your vinegar to the pan, and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add your oil to the pan, and stir to mix evenly with the vinegar mixture.
- Pour the vinaigrette mixture over your kale.
- Slice your bratwurst, and use them to top your kale.
- Add the caramelized onions, then top with some mustard, and enjoy.
- I use bratwurst made my our local butcher, but any store-bought bratwurst will do.
- I use yellow mustard because that is usually what we have on hand, but dijon would also be fantastic.
- Have sauerkraut? Use it as a topping as well!