For this indulgent dish, which first appeared in our December 2013 issue along with David McAninch’s article First Night, duck legs are cured in herb-laced salt, then slowly braised in a bath of duck fat before being roasted until crisp.
- 4 duck legs
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger
- 6 cups duck fat
- Using a knife, trim skin on drumsticks about 1″ below the tip of the bone and scrape down toward the meat, exposing the bone; place legs on a baking sheet and set aside. Grind thyme and bay leaves in a spice grinder; transfer to a bowl. Stir in salt, sugar, pepper, garlic powder, and ginger; rub mixture all over duck, pressing it into the skin and coating completely. Cover with plastic wrap; chill overnight or up to 2 days.
- Next day, rinse duck and pat completely dry with paper towels. Melt duck fat in an 8-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 200°. Add duck legs; cook until tender, about 2 hours. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and chill. The confit can be used right away or will keep up to a month.
- To serve: Heat oven to 400°. Remove duck from fat; place skin side up on a baking sheet with a wire rack. Bake until skin is browned and crisp, about 40 minutes.