This is a very traditional French dish, originally a way to preserve the duck for months — if not longer — without the aid of modern refrigeration. Although cooked in fat, the final result should not be fatty and the meat will just fall off the bone.
4 duck legs
2 tbsp rock salt
6 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 strips of orange peel (optional)
Rub the duck all over with the salt. Place in a non-metallic dish in one layer, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day place the duck fat in a dish big enough to fit all the duck in. In the duck fat put the bruised garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and orange peel. Put the duck fat into a 140°C oven to come to a simmer. Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse the duck legs and pat dry.
Carefully put the rinsed duck legs into the hot oil and cook for 2½ hours. Cooled and stored in the duck fat the duck will keep for months.
To serve, remove the duck legs from the fat. Don’t throw this away you can use it again for the most delicious roast potatoes.
Place the duck under a hot grill or skin side down in a hot pan to crisp up the skin and warm through the meat.