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Desperation dinners: Mango Chutney is a cook's salvation in a jar

Using Mango Chutney as a condiment (as traditionally used in Indian cooking) is simply too limiting. Chutney is a combination of fruit, spices, vinegar and sugar and comes in a variety of flavors and spice levels, from mild to very hot. Our favorite variety (and we think the most versatile) is mild mango chutney. Chutney is found alongside the other ethnic condiments, and there are several national brands to choose from.

Here are some of our favorite ways to use chutney:Pour 1/4 cup over a small block of cream cheese and serve with crackers or cocktail bread slices.

Mix 1 tablespoon into a mild vinaigrette for an exotic twist on the same-old salad dressing.

Stir 1/4 cup, or more to taste, into a pot of plain rice for a surprisingly yummy "pilaf."

Dress up any deli sandwich with a tablespoon of chutney spread on the bread in place of other condiments.

Mix 1/2 mayonnaise and 1/2 chutney for creamy condiment alternative. (Terrific on hamburgers!)

Toss 1/4 cup with steamed broccoli, carrots or green beans.

Serve with baked sweet potatoes, to taste.

Today's recipe for Panned Pork with Apple and Mango Chutney relies on chutney as the base for a sauce. This 20-minute dinner entree is fancy enough to serve company and yet simple enough for just the family as a midweek meal solution.


Menu: Panned Pork with Apple and Mango Chutney

Quick-cooking brown rice

Steamed broccoli

Hard rolls

PANNED PORK WITH APPLE AND MANGO CHUTNEY

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Cook's note: Pork tenderloin often comes in 2-pound packages (2 strips). You only need 1 pound for this recipe. Freeze the remaining strip in a heavy-duty bag for up to 6 weeks (as long as the pork has not been previously frozen).

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use

1 pound pork tenderloin (see Cook's note)

1 large tart apple, such as Granny Smith, (for about 1 cup chopped)

1/2 cup mild mango chutney, such as Major Grey's

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup water

Place the flour, thyme, salt and black pepper in a gallon-size zipper-top plastic bag and shake to mix. Set aside. Cut the pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. (Some pieces may look more like strips.)

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-low in a 12-inch nonstick skillet.

While the oil heats, place the pork pieces in the bag with the flour and shake to coat well. Shake excess flour from each piece of meat and add it to the hot oil in the skillet. Discard the bag and flour mixture.

When all of the meat is added, raise the heat to medium. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Turn the meat and drizzle the remaining oil around the pieces. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the meat is just barely pink in the center.

While the pork cooks, core and finely chop (do not peel) the apple. Stir the apple, chutney, raisins and water together in a 2-cup glass measure. Microwave on high, covered with a paper towel, for 1 minute.

When the pork is done, reduce the heat to low and add the apple-chutney mixture. Stir to coat the pork well with sauce. Serve immediately, spooning extra sauce over each serving.

Serves 4

Approximate values per serving: 358 calories (28% from fat), 11 g fat (2.4 g saturated), 63 mg cholesterol, 24 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 837 mg sodium


Beverly Mills is a former food editor of the Miami Herald food section and a mother of two; Alicia Ross, a former food columnist for The Raleigh News and Observer, also has two children. They have been living the desperate life for years and years. Send desperate tales of woe or everyday success stories and your favorite quick recipes to Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at www.desperationdinners.com. You can e-mail Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross at bev-alicia@desperationdinners.com.


United Feature Syndicate Inc.