- Lay the duck leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the salt and the black pepper.
- Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme on each of 2 leg portions. Lay the remaining 2 leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top.
- Put the fat from the ducks in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions, and sprinkle with the remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C).
- Remove the duck from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and duck fat and set aside.
- Rinse the duck with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Put the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and duck fat in the bottom of an enameled cast-iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and table salt.
- Lay the duck on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil.
- Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.
- Remove the duck from the fat. Strain the fat and set aside.
- To store the duck confit, place the duck leg portions in a container, cover with the cooking fat, and store in the refrigerator. Alternately, pick the meat from the bones and place it in a stoneware container. Cover the meat with a thin layer of some of the strained fat.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. The excess oil can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used like butter for cooking. The tinge of duck taste in the oil is wonderful.