This is a luxurious dish that is fatty and delicious. Serve on top of a pasta of your choice (I did a simple buttery linguine with mushrooms) and a side salad like my Truffle Salad.
2 skin-on, bone-in duck legs
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more freshly cracked
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sprigs thyme, divided
Using the tip of a knife or the sharp tines of a carving fork, prick duck leg skin all over. Rub with garlic (slices should stick to skin) and season with 1 tsp. ground pepper and 2 Tbsp. salt.
Preheat oven to 250°. Arrange duck, skin side down, in a roasting pan or large Dutch oven and add 2 thyme sprigs and ½ cup water. Cover pan with foil or lid and cook until fat is rendered (don’t be surprised: there will be lots), about 2 hours. Turn duck skin side up and nestle it into rendered fat. Cover pan and continue to cook until meat is very tender and bones easily wiggle when pulled, 2–2½ hours longer.
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Remove duck from fat and place, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve fat for another use (it will keep 3 weeks in refrigerator or 3 months in freezer; reheat and strain before using). Season duck with cracked pepper and roast until skin is brown and crisp, 30–35 minutes.
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