This is not the confit they teach in cooking school, or the kind served at restaurants. It's the kind you can make any time -- all you need are a few good duck legs, a skillet and some very basic spices. And it's just as good.
Melissa Clark's method is very simple, and the best perk is you don't need to come up with a vat of duck fat before you get going -- you just render some out from the cured duck legs themselves.
8 moulard duck legs (about 4 pounds total), rinsed and patted dry but not trimmed
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf pieces. Sprinkle duck generously with mixture. Place duck legs in a pan in one layer. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. Note: Moulard duck legs can vary in size -- if yours are closer to 1 lb. each, instead of 1/2 lb., add an extra 6-12 hours to the curing time if possible, and increase the spice mix proportionally by weight.
The next day, heat oven to 325 degrees. 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 heat until fat starts to render. When there is about 1/4 inch of rendered fat in pan, about 20 minutes, flip duck legs, cover pan with foil, and place it in 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 2 hours, then remove foil and continue roasting until duck is golden brown, about 1 hour more. Remove duck from fat; reserve fat for other uses.
Serve duck hot or warm, over roasted potatoes or noodles or bitter salad greens.