- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The most important thing to remember about healthful cooking is: If it doesn’t taste great, it doesn’t get eaten.

Of course, sweetening up a recipe is a surefire way to make it more appealing, but this tactic all too often gets a suspicious glance from health-conscious cooks, especially as studies increasingly link refined sugars to obesity.

That doesn’t mean healthy recipes can’t have a sweet touch.

Ellie Krieger, host of the Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite,” manages that by adding sweetness to many of her recipes using the unrefined sugars found in ingredients such as fruit, which offer other nutritional benefits in addition to taste.

Her recipe for chicken with mango barbecue sauce gets its character from the sweet combination of mango and molasses. Mango not only is sweet, it’s also an excellent source of fiber and vitamins C and A.

Molasses also adds a distinct flavor to the dish, and the thick syrup is a good source of copper, magnesium and iron.

Chicken with mango barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)

1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce

1 mango, diced (about 1½ cups)

2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, minced (for a less intense version, discard seeds first)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound each)

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add the bell pepper, garlic, salt, black pepper and allspice, then cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and tomato sauce and cook for another minute.

Transfer the mixture into a blender and add the mango and jalapenos. Blend until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Let the sauce cool several minutes, then transfer 1 cup of it to a zip-close plastic bag. Add the chicken and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the broiler. Put the chicken on a broiler pan and discard the marinade in the bag. Broil the chicken on high for about 12 minutes, turning once.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Spoon about ½ cup of barbecue sauce over the chicken slices and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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