HEALTHY PLATE: Consider fruit at the dinner table

Associated PressJune 16, 2010 

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 servings that 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.

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