This is certainly not a traditional method, but it produces a very good outcome without the complexity of a genuine duck confit. NOTE: Start this recipe 1–3 days before you want to serve it.
Easy Duck Confit
Yield: 4 servings
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 bay leaf, crumbled
4 peeled garlic cloves, smashed flat
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
8 moulard duck legs (about 1/2 pound each), rinsed/patted dry—not trimmed
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Start this recipe one to three days before serving (almost all the time is hands-off).
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf pieces, garlic, sliced shallot. Pat/sprinkle duck generously with mixture. Place duck legs in a pan in one layer. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours, or up to three days.
METHOD 1 / CROCK POT
Place the duck legs and salt/herbs/garlic/shallot in a crockpot for 6-8 hours. When finished, remove the duck and strain the fat. Brown the duck in a saute pan to desired crispness. Note: Sous vide should also work well. See my recipe for Turkey Leg Confit for pointers (and use granulated garlic).
METHOD 2 / OVEN
After duck legs have finished being dry-marinated in the refrigerator, heat oven to 275 degrees.
Brush the herbs off the legs, using a paper towel. Place duck legs, fat side down, in a large ovenproof skillet, with legs fitting snugly in a single layer (you may have to use two skillets or cook them in batches). Heat duck legs over medium-high heat until fat starts to render. When there is about ¼ inch of rendered fat in pan, at about 20 minutes, flip duck legs, cover pan with foil, and place it in the oven. If you have used two pans, transfer duck and fat to a roasting pan, cover with foil and place in oven.
Roast legs for 1 hour (if using 4-5 ounce legs) or 2 hours (if using half-pound legs), then remove foil and continue roasting until duck is golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Note: For larger duck legs, if needed, place the duck legs under the broiler (30 seconds to a minute should do it) to crisp further. Remove duck from fat; reserve fat for other uses.
Serve duck hot or warm, with lightly-dressed mixed spring greens and rich mashed cauliflower. An additional side of braised cabbage is lovely as well. If carbs are no issue, halved baby potatoes roasted in duck fat and some garlic-herb white beans would be outstanding.