I recently developed this chicken dinner recipe for Maine Public’s “Create It!” recipe contest. I didn’t win this year, but that just makes me more determined to go at it again in 2020.

I’m not disappointed at all, because now I’m able to share the recipe for this cozy oven meal with my Cooking on the Cove readers.

All these ingredients are available year-round and come together in lovely harmony for a rainy Sunday dinner or weeknight meal. The chicken, vegetables, and seasonings can be arranged in the baking dish in advance. The kale can be washed and tamed with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and salt then kept in a food storage bag until needed at the end of the roasting time.

Serve with your favorite biscuits or sourdough bread, if you like, but I’ll save my carb count for dessert, thank you very much.

Yes, I will be writing a lot about rhubarb for the next couple weeks because it’s one of my favorite ingredients this time of year. If you think you don’t like it, you haven’t given it enough of a chance. Either you’ll have to join my Rhubarb Fan Club or just put up with me.

I have loved rhubarb since I was a wee tot. Made into sauce then served with toast for breakfast, or as a supper side dish, it was a family staple throughout the days of early summer. My grandmother made beautiful rhubarb pies with lard-laden crusts.

Curiously, our family bakers never mixed rhubarb with strawberries. Can you believe it wasn’t until I moved to Maine that I tasted my first strawberry-rhubarb pie? I like that, but give me plain old sugared-up rhubarb (with a hint of cinnamon) any day of the week.

Although I highly recommend serving this straight-up rhubarb dessert warm with French vanilla ice cream, the leftover cake also goes down well for breakfast or as a lovely mid-morning coffee break treat. Maybe you should double the recipe and make two while you’re at it (or just use a bigger pan).

Chicken with Vegetables

8 chicken thighs

4 medium onions, cut in half

4 large carrots and 4 large parsnips, cut in 2-inch chunks

6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

3 tbsps. olive oil

3 tbsps. maple syrup

1-2 tsps. thyme

2 tsps. sea salt

3-4 cups curly kale, stems removed, and torn

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange chicken, vegetables, and 3/4 of the garlic in a baking dish large enough to accommodate ingredients without crowding. Combine 2 tbsp. olive oil with maple syrup and pour over chicken and vegetables, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with thyme, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper.

Roast for 35 minutes. Stir vegetables, turn over chicken pieces, and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.

Meanwhile, toss kale in a bowl with remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil, garlic, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Add pepper to taste. Spread kale on top of chicken and vegetables and return to oven for another 15 minutes, until kale is crisp.

To serve, make a nest of kale on a serving platter and place chicken and vegetables on top. Yield: 4-6 servings

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

1 cup flour

1 1/4 tsps. baking powder

5 tbsps. butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

4 cups (1 lb.) rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place butter in another bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add 2/3 cup sugar; beat until well-blended. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and egg, beating well. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until smooth.

Combine rhubarb and remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Spoon batter over rhubarb mixture. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t cover the rhubarb completely; it will spread. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yield: 6-8 servings

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected].

Chicken thighs roast in the oven with root vegetables and receive a crown of kale at the end of cooking time.

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