- 4 duck leg portions with thighs attached, excess fat trimmed and reserved (about 2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 garlic cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 4 cups olive oil
- Lay the leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and the black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme on each of 2 leg portions. Lay the remaining 2 leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top. Put the reserved fat from the ducks in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºF.
- Remove the duck from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and duck fat and reserve. Rinse the duck with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Put the reserved garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and duck fat in the bottom of an enameled cast-iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and salt. Lay the duck on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil. Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.
- Remove the duck from the fat. Strain the fat and reserve.
- Pick the meat from the bones and place it in a stoneware container. Cover the meat with some of the strained fat, making a 1/4-inch layer.
- The duck confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. The excess oil can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used like butter for cooking. The tinge of duck taste in the oil is wonderful and I use the oil to roast potatoes, cook green beans, and panfry veal.
- If you are going to prepare the Duck Rillettes, reserve the garlic cloves.