4 Moulard duck legs
1200 ml rendered duck fat
750 ml kosher salt
500 ml golden brown sugar
30ml cracked black peppercorn
8 garlic cloves
8 sprigs thyme
8 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
Orange peel (optional)
With a sharp knife, cut all the way around the leg bone, close to the knuckle. This will sever the tendons and allow the meat to slide down the bone without tearing during the cooking process. Trim excess fat from legs to help speed the curing process & acquire more duck fat for when you’re ready to cook the legs. Chop the trimmed fat into small pieces, and cook in a heavy bottomed pan to render all the useable fat.
Pick leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme & rosemary, smash 2 cloves of garlic with the flat of a knife & then combine all the rub ingredients in a medium bowl (reserving the remaining thyme, rosemary & garlic; and all of the bay leaves).
Setting yourself on a tray lined with parchment paper, gently work the curing rub into the duck legs, until they are well coated.
Arrange them neatly in a single layer, & place 4 of the thyme, rosemary & bay leaves and smashed garlic cloves onto the flesh side. This is where you can be a little creative to add your own flavour profile. I added orange peel and a small amount of freshly grated nutmeg. Press them between two sheet pans & parchment paper, weighing it down with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet.
Allow to marinate/cure for 8 hours on the counter top or 24 hours in the fridge.
When the curing time is finished, rinse the excess rub off of the legs, & pat dry. Place legs in a oven safe vessel, then carefully pour the gently warm rendered duck fat over them.
At this point, add your remaining aromatics (thyme, rosemary, garlic) and place in an oven pre-heated to 230 F. Checking it occasionally to ensure it is cooking slowly, with only gentle bubbling in the fat, cook covered for 2.5 – 3 hours.
Your duck legs will be ready when the thigh bone easily comes away from, with minimal tugging.
It’s now ready to be enjoyed, crisped whole in a skillet and served with lentils, or as part of another dish; a salad with beets & chevre or a cassoulet. Given that confit is the traditional way to preserve duck and goose legs, you can cover them in the fat they were cooked in and if properly stored in your refrigerator, can last for several weeks.