|1 tablespoon||black peppercorns|
|2||star anise pods|
|4 tablespoons||coarse sea salt|
|6 cloves||garlic, minced|
|Zest||of 2 lemons|
|5 pounds||rendered duck fat, warmed|
|2||shallots, finely minced|
|8||thyme sprigs, picked|
|8||duck legs, frenched, with fat and skin trimmed so that it is approximately 1 inch larger than the meat|
Note: To "French" the duck legs, cut the meat away from the end of the bone so that part of the bone is exposed. Do not cut the meat off the bone.
1. Toast spices over medium heat until aromatic, remove from heat, cool and grind in spice or coffee grinder.
2. Mix ground spices with salt in a bowl and combine with garlic, shallots, thyme and lemon zest.
3. Layer legs skin-side down in a deep ovenproof dish and distribute cure mix evenly among all legs.
4. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper, weigh down with another smaller dish, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
5. Remove from refrigerator and rinse off cure mix. Duck legs should feel firm and be darker and more translucent in color.
6. Preheat oven to 280 degrees F.
7. Place the legs back into the baking dish, skin-side up, snugly but not overlapping.
8. Pour just enough rendered duck fat on top of the legs to cover the meat.
9. Cook for 2 hours.
10. Reduce heat to 220 degrees and continue cooking for 2 to 3 more hours or until legs have shrunk slightly and meat is fork tender.
11. Cool at room temperature until legs have sunk back down into the fat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 weeks or up to 3 months.
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Wong of The Portland Meat Collective and Wusthof