This spiced-up chicken and rice, along with peas in wine, and chocolate banana slices fits our definition of “extra.” Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

At the cove, when we really like something, we often say, “That was extra!” It could mean extra delicious, extra special, extra you-name-it. (Even when the youngest grandchild does something especially cute, we say, “She’s so extra.”)

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

This wonderfully aromatic one-pot chicken and rice dish, for instance, is the epitome of “extra.” Smelling that exquisite bouquet of spices simmering with the chicken and rice. Trust me, you’ll want to just stand over the steaming pot with a great, big spoon and dig in. Never mind taking the time to transfer it all to plates and get it to the table.

This entrée all goes together quickly and the chicken comes out wonderfully juicy. If you’re using extra large thighs, adjust the cooking time accordingly and pour in a bit more stock if the rice starts sticking to the pan.

Please don’t omit any condiments. They all have a purpose that adds more “extra” to the dish. You’ll see …

Now, you could add frozen peas to the pot near the end of the cooking time. However, Drunken Peas are worth the extra steps and saucepan. See how easy it is to take something ordinary and make it “extra”?

And here’s more “extra” to add to your life without a lot of trouble: mix up a loaf of chocolate banana batter then bake it while you’re enjoying the above. When the loaf is cooled, drizzle some chocolate ganache all over the top of it. This dessert or tea-time bread is moist, rich and chocolately without the icing as well, but hey, life is way too short to not have “extra” every chance we get.

‘Extra’ Chicken & Rice

8 chicken thighs
Salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cups jasmine rice
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (optional)
3-4 cups chicken stock


Plain Greek yogurt
English cucumber, sliced
Lime wedges
Fresh mint

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, melt butter and stir in turmeric. Add the chicken skin side down and cook over medium-high heat, turning once until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes in total. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add onion, ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, spices and rice and stir constantly for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up. Add the bay leaves, fish sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Adjust the lid to cover partially and simmer until rice is cooked and chicken is tender for 10-15 minutes longer. Remove from heat, uncover and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve with condiments. Yield: 4 servings

Drunken Peas

3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, julienned
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (12-ounce) package frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté shallot for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Stir in peas and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: 4 servings

Chocolate Banana Slices

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups (4 small) bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy with an electric mixer. Blend in eggs and bananas. Add banana mixture and chocolate chips to flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Bake 50-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack. Yield: 9 servings


1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat cream and brown sugar over medium heat until brown sugar has dissolved and tiny bubbles start to form. Stir in vanilla and butter until melted then turn off heat. Add chocolate chips, but do not stir. Allow to sit 2-3 minutes then whisk until smooth. Cool slightly and drizzle over bread. Yield: 1/3 cup

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