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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.

Flash-Seared Swiss Chard with Spicy Citrus Bread Crumbs

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed; washed & dried; cut into 3/4" wide strips
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter over a low flame. Add red chili flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt to butter and let steep for 5 minutes. Pour butter over breadcrumbs and mix well to thoroughly coat crumbs. Pour crumbs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, mix crumbs to promote even browning and return to oven for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove crumbs from oven and let cool. Add lemon and orange zests to crumbs and mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Heat a dutch oven or large sauté pan over high flame. When pan is very hot, add oil. Immediately add chard and stir rapidly. Add garlic and salt and continue to stir until chard is wilted, but not soft. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with breadcrumbs.

Mini Potato Latkes with Crème Fraiche & Rhubarb Puree

(serves 2-4)

2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled
1/2 Spanish onion
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil for sautéing
Crème fraiche
Rhubarb Puree (see recipe below)

Using a box grater, grate one potato into a large bowl. Next, grate the onion and then the other potato. Mix potato and onion together well and then squeeze excess liquid from the mixture with a clean towel. Transfer squeezed potato/onion mixture to a clean bowl and add beaten egg, flour and salt and mix well.

Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high flame and add enough oil to generously coat the bottom. Carefully place small bunches of the potato mixture into pan and then flatten with a spatula. Cook until golden brown, flip and repeat. Let latkes drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with a little more salt. Transfer to a clean plate and serve immediately with crème fraiche and applesauce.

Rhubarb Purée

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces

Heat a heavy-bottomed sauce pot over medium-high flame and add sugar and water; bring to a boil. Add rhubarb and stir; return liquid to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain half of the syrup from rhubarb and place in blender. Blend mixture until smooth. Season with sea salt and more sugar if necessary and allow to cool.

Roasted Chiogga Beets with Passion Fruit, Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds

(serves 2-4)

1 bunch Chioggia beets, washed and dried with tops removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 passion fruit
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup creamy goat cheese (Vermont Butter & Cheese)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted until golden brown

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine beets, olive oil, sugar and salt and mix well to thoroughly coat beets. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and then wrap entire package in another layer of foil. Place beet package on a baking sheet and bake in oven for about 45-55 minutes (a toothpick or cake tester should be able to pierce beet to the core with very slight resistance). Remove beets from oven and let cool in foil. When cool, peel beets with a paper towel and cut into quarters or eighths, depending on size.

In a small bowl, combine pulp and seeds from the passion fruit with maple syrup, grapeseed oil, and salt. Pour passion fruit mixture over beets and mix well.

To serve, spread goat cheese in a thin layer on a plate. Place beets on top of cheese and top with toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

"Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market" is benefitting the James Beard Foundation and Fulton Youth of the Future culinary scholarships.

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