Bittered Sling grilled summer chicken with cherries and pumpkin seed relish

A sweet and tangy relish to accompany chicken on the barbecue

Photo by Issha Marie
Photo by Issha Marie

Bitters are undoubtedly popular in cocktails, but Jonathan Chovancek, co-Proprietor of Bittered Sling Extracts and executive chef at Café Medina in Vancouver, shows bitters' use in cooking. It may not be summer yet, but if you're grilling, pair chicken with this relish.

1/4 cup wild flower honey
3 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 cups pitted B.C. cherries, halved
1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 small red onion, finely minced
2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced small
1 hot red chili, seeds removed and minced
1/2 cup cold pressed sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp Bittered Sling Denman Extract
3 tsp fresh oregano leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
2 whole chickens, around 4 lb each
smoked paprika, to taste

In a saucepan over high heat, bring honey, fennel seeds and vinegar to a boil. Pour overtop of a third of the cherries and allow to cool. Combine the remaining ingredients--except chicken, and smoked paprika, and reserving 1/2 tbsp of black pepper and 1 tsp of salt--with the pickled cherries and allow to macerate overnight. 

Cut each chicken into 10 parts. Rub with a little sunflower oil and season with reserved salt, black pepper and smoked paprika. Grill chicken until cooked through and skin is crispy.

Place the chicken on a high-sided platter and completely cover with the relish. Allow to sit, stirring all the bits around for 20 minutes. Best served outside in a park.

4 to 6 servings