You can ask your butcher to quarter the duck for you. The confit can be used almost anywhere you'd use duck, from a ragù for pasta to a taco filling.
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One 5-pound duck
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1 large garlic clove
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3 pounds duck fat (1 1/2 quarts), melted (see Note)
How to Make It
Using poultry shears, remove the duck backbone and the wings at the second joint. Cut the duck into 2 breasts and 2 whole legs and trim off the excess fat.
In a small skillet, toast the white and black peppercorns, the cloves and the crushed red pepper over moderate heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add the salt, rosemary, thyme, garlic and orange zest and process until finely ground, 2 minutes.
Transfer the salt mixture to a large bowl, add the duck and dredge well. Set the duck breasts and legs in a baking pan, skin side up. Sprinkle lightly with more of the salt, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 275°. Rinse the duck pieces and arrange them in a deep baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the duck fat over the duck so it's completely submerged. Cook the duck for 2 hours and 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until fork-tender; the skin will separate from the meat when the duck is done. Let the duck cool in the fat, then refrigerate for 8 hours.
The duck confit can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Pure duck fat is available from D'Artagnan at dartagnan.com or 800-327-8246.
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