Since the nice long holiday break gave me a couple days to run errands and fart around the kitchen, I decided to take on a project more time-consuming than any I've done since we moved — confit.
It may be time-consuming, but it's not exactly difficult. If you can set your oven for 200 degrees and leave it there for a few hours, you can make confit. I started by buying two ducks and removing their legs, saving the breasts and carcass for another meal. I also scavenged all the skin and fat from the ducks. The legs I cured with salt, pepper, cloves, garlic, and bay leaf for two days in the fridge, as per Ruhlman and Polcyn.
The morning I made the confit, I took the fat I had salvaged from the ducks and chopped it and rendered in the oven on low heat. As the guy at the butcher shop had suggested, the ducks I got were rather too lean to supply enough fat to cover the legs — luckily he also gave me a supplementary tub of duck fat. I added that to the fat I had rendered and poured it all over the rinsed and dried legs, making sure they were completely covered (I had to poke a few air bubbles out from underneath the skin to convince them to stay at the bottom of the pan). I turned the oven to 200, popped em in, and forgot about them until bedtime, approximately eight hours later.
But to really make confit, you can't just cook the duck in fat, you have to age it there too. The legs get transferred to a crock, and the fat is poured on top (carefully, so the settled cooking liquids don't make it into the crock), where it hardens and solidifies when refrigerated. Some weeks later, you remove the legs, heat them and crisp the skin, and enjoy - but that's for another entry.