Saturday, January 28, 2023

Consider fruit at the dinner table

by Jim Romanoff
| April 21, 2010 9:00 PM

If you found it hard to get the five daily servings of produce you've been told for years you need, you'll probably find it even harder to get the nine serving experts now suggest.

But adding a fruit chutney or compote to your dinner plate - rather than just over a dessert - can help nudge you along.

Chutneys and compotes are both good choices, especially between seasons when fruits aren't necessarily at their best.

Both types of sauces usually are cooked, which means that even if the fruits aren't that sweet, any sugars they do have will concentrate, and the resulting flavors will be much more intense.

Compotes can be made with fresh or dried fruit, which usually is left chunky and baked or simmered in a light syrup. It can be served as a side or topping to a savory entree, such as chicken or pork.

A chutney is a condiment made with fruits, vegetables or legumes. They can vary in texture, be sweet or sour, and range in spiciness from mild to very hot.

Chutney can be made from a mixture of raw ingredients, but the most familiar versions, such as mango chutney, are cooked and consist of a fruit or vegetable, sugar, vinegar and spices.

This recipe for sauteed chicken breasts with strawberry-blueberry chutney is a delicious example of adding fruit sauces to your dinner plate. Early spring strawberries (which may not be their ripest) are cooked with intensely flavored, sweet dried blueberries, chopped red onion and spicy fresh ginger to create a sweet and savory sauce that complements chicken, pork or beef.

If you like, substitute fresh rhubarb for the strawberries to create a more bracing chutney.

Chicken breasts with strawberry-blueberry chutney

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 cups quartered strawberries

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan over medium, heat the canola oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.

Add the strawberries, dried blueberries, brown sugar, vinegar and ginger. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the berries are softened and breaking down, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of each breast through the seasoned flour.

In a large nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes, or until an instant thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 165 F. Serve the chicken topped with strawberry-blueberry chutney.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 412 calories; 82 calories from fat; 9 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 87 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrate; 35 g protein; 5 g fiber; 695 mg sodium.

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