Cooked slowly covered in herbed fat, this duck is moist and tender. The surprise with meats prepared this way – confit – is that they are neither greasy nor fatty. This is a very old method of preparing and preserving meat, and it gets high marks for its versatility (it can be eaten hot or cold) and taste. Potatoes Sarladaise is a traditional accompaniment.
- Duck - one 4 to 5 pound, cleaned
- Goose Fat plus rendered fat from the duck - 1 pound, tinned
- Salt - 4 tablespoons, coarse
- Cracked black peppercorns - 2 tablespoons
- Fresh Thyme - 2 tablespoons, chopped
- Bay Leaves - 7
- Garlic Cloves - 3, chopped
- Thyme - 1 sprig
Cut the duck into four sections, 2 breasts and 2 legs and thighs. Combine the salt, pepper, chopped thyme, 5 crumbled bay leaves, and 2 chopped garlic cloves and divide equally among the four pieces of duck. Press the mixture onto both sides of each piece. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Put any remaining duck pieces, including skin, in a saute pan and cook over low heat until all the available fat is rendered. Pour the fat into a jar and reserve in the refrigerator.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, warm the goose and duck fat just until melted. With a damp cloth, wipe the seasoning from the duck pieces and lay them, skin-side down, in a saucepan. Cover completely with the melted fat. Add the remaining whole bay leaves, chopped garlic, and sprig of thyme. Cook over low heat on the top of the stove for 60 to 75 minutes. Do not let the fat boil.
The duck may be removed from the fat, drained, and served immediately, or stored covered in fat in the refrigerator for up to a week.