Simple Gourmet Meals for a Cause

This Sunday, New York's Chelsea Market will host the second annual Sunday "Supper at Chelsea Market" fundraiser. The event is a philanthropic platform for well-respected chefs to support the food industry's future talents. Money raised will support the Fulton Youth of the Future Culinary Scholarships at the Robert Fulton Houses and advance the mission of the James Beard Foundation, which celebrates and works to preserve America's culinary roots.

The market will transform its concourse using a 240-foot table where 30 chefs will collaborate on the ultimate gourmet family-style menu. Craig Koketsu, executive chef of Manhattan's Park Avenue Spring restaurant, is one of the chefs participating in the event. He plans to prepare braised lamb shanks with pistachio, mint and ricotta salata -- a version of the dish he prepared Wednesday on "The Early Show."

Koketsu says when you're cooking for a large group, you don't want to be in the kitchen all the time and you want to make a dish that is easily shared. Koketsu is not a fan of "rich" foods. He believes that it's easy to make foods taste good when you fill them with butter and fat. But when you take those elements out, you have to find other ways to boost flavor. On "The Early Show," he shared just how does that, using spices and flavorful, fresh ingredients to make simple, yet elegant dishes you can try at home.

Braised Chicken with Pistachios and Mint

(serves 10)

20 chicken thighs with bone, skin removed
Spice Mix (recipe follows)
Oil for sauteeing
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
2 onions, large dice
¼ cup ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 cups chicken stock
1 large pinch of saffron
16 oz can peeled and chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup scallion greens, cut on a thin bias
1/4 cup Sicilian pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup mint chiffonnade
14 cup ricotta salata, grated (can substitute feta)

Coat thighs generously with spice mix and allow to cure overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season thighs with salt and then sauté in oil until brown on all sides. Transfer thighs to a large casserole dish. In the same sauté pan, quickly sauté onions, carrots, ginger, and garlic together and then add to casserole. Bring chicken stock, tomatoes, and honey to a light simmer, add saffron and then pour over thighs. Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and then bake in oven for approximately 1 hour. When thighs are tender to the bone, remove from braising liquid and keep warm. Strain out vegetables and return liquid to the stove in a wide-bottomed pan. Reduce liquid until it reaches a light glaze consistency and then add thighs. Glaze thighs by continuously spooning liquid over them. Remove thighs from stove and place on a sheet pan. Generously coat thighs with scallions, pistachios, mint, and ricotta salata. Serve immediately.

Spice Mix
1/2 cup Spanish paprika
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon tumeric
3 teaspoons cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix all spices together well with a whisk. Store in an airtight container.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.