Crockpot Cooking

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It's one of the mid-west's favorite ways to cook during the winter, and today we asked Chef Randall Toenges an M State Culinary Arts Instructor to give us some delicious new recipes.

Green Salt for Pheasant Confit
YIELD: ½ CUP (ENOUGH FOR 8 PHEASANT LEGS AND THIGHS)
½ cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves, broken into pieces
1 T. fresh thyme, chopped
1 T. fresh rosemary
¼ cup fresh parsley, packed
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 lbs. rendered duck/goose fat or lard

- Combine the salt, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and peppercorns in a coffee or spice mill or small processor and process until well-combined and vivid green
- Coat each pheasant leg and thigh with 1 tablespoon of the green salt making sure to rub it in to all the parts of the leg. Cover with plastic wrap and cure for 24 hrs.
- Remove the pheasant from the cure and rinse under cold water and dry well using paper towels.
- Place in an ovenproof container and cover with rendered duck fat or lard. Cook in a 190° F oven for 10 hours or until “meltingly tender”

Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup w/ Smoked Turkey & Fresh Marjoram
YIELD: 3 QUARTS (ABOUT EIGHT 10-OUNCE PORTIONS)
8 cups water
1 large Smoked Turkey Leg
onion, carrot, and celery scraps
2 whole cloves
1 each bay leaves
4 whole black peppercorns
1 medium onion, ¼-inch dice
2 medium carrots, ¼-inch dice
2.5 ribs celery, ¼-inch dice
4 Tbsp. butter
2 ounces apple smoked bacon, ½-inch dice (optional, use 2 tablespoons butter)
1 pounds green or yellow split peas (about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp. fresh marjoram ( 1 teaspoon dry)
- to taste kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cups garlic croutons for garnish

- Combine the first set of ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a very low simmer for 90 minutes. Strain, reserve liquid, and the turkey leg. Once the turkey is cool enough to handle, pick the meat and chop it into ¼-inch pieces.
- Render the bacon (or not) along with the butter in a saucepot over medium low heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and add the dry marjoram if using in place of fresh. Cook without any color until the vegetables are mostly soft and tender (about 5 minutes).
- Transfer the vegetables to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the turkey stock, turkey, and peas. Cover and cook 8-9 hours on low, or 5-6 hours on high.
- Whisk the soup to puree the peas. Add the fresh marjoram and season to taste.
- Serve with garlic croutons.

Note: The first step is optional. You can make the soup without making the stock. Just make sure to put
the bay, cloves, and peppercorns in a sachet (tea bag) so you can retrieve them when the soup is cooked.