I’m always looking for new ways to prepare duck confit. When I first started making it, I used an electric slow cooker and at least five pounds of duck fat. Such a large amount of fat ensured that the duck legs could be stored safely for months so that the wondrous alchemical maturing process that makes for great confit could take place. Later, I introduced the sous vide method, which requires very little fat. (Those methods are presented in detail in the revised edition of my book The Cooking of Southwest France, 2007.)
Here, now, is a third method—quicker and easier—in which fatted duck legs are baked slowly side by side in a clay pot. This method incorporates a small amount of purchased fat, and though it won’t have quite the inimitable flavor of a traditional long-aged confit, it provides a fine, wonderfully flavorful meal within a week. As with the other methods, you will have plenty of lovely duck fat left over for cooking potatoes, stews, and soups or for making more duck confit.
Please note that the duck juices, fondly known as “duck Jell-O, ” should be saved to flavor the accompanying lentil ragout.