8 skin-on, bone-in duck legs
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more freshly cracked
2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
9 sprigs thyme, divided
6 dried chiles de árbol, crushed, or 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, divided
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 sprig rosemary
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
Using the tip of a knife or the sharp tines of a carving fork, prick duck leg skin all over. Rub with garlic (slices should stick to skin) and season with 1 tsp. ground pepper and 2 Tbsp. salt.
Preheat oven to 250°. Arrange duck, skin side down, in a roasting pan or large Dutch oven and add 8 thyme sprigs, 4 chiles (or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes), and 1/2 cup water. Cover pan with foil or lid and cook until fat is rendered (don't be surprised: there will be lots), about 2 hours. Turn duck skin side up and nestle it into rendered fat. Cover pan and continue to cook until meat is very tender and bones easily wiggle when pulled, 2--2 1/2 hours longer.
Meanwhile, bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, rosemary sprig, remaining thyme sprig, 2 chiles (or ½ tsp. red pepper flakes), 1 tsp. salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Mix in raisins, remove from heat, and let cool at least 1 hour.
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Remove duck from fat and place, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve fat for another use (it will keep 3 weeks in refrigerator or 3 months in freezer; reheat and strain before using). Season duck with cracked pepper and roast until skin is brown and crisp, 30--35 minutes. Serve duck with pickled raisins.
Do Ahead: Raisins can be pickled 1 week ahead. Cover and chill; bring to room temperature before serving. Duck can be cooked 1 week ahead. Pack duck in fat in an airtight container and chill.
Calories (kcal) 330
Fat (g) 11
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 105
Carbohydrates (g) 31
Dietary Fiber (g) 2
Total Sugars (g) 26
Protein (g) 26
Sodium (mg) 350
Bon Appétit, October 2013
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