Blend salt, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme. Rub duck legs with mixture. Place in a container and sprinkle with any remaining mixture and peppercorns.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Melt duck fat in 2 teaspoons hot water in saucepan. Cook over low heat until clear.
Add duck legs, skin side down. Bring to a boil and cover pan.
Lower heat and simmer 2-3 hours, or until very tender when tested with a fork.
Strain fat, cool, and save.
To serve as an entrée, cover and bake the confit at 400° until brown and crispy – about ½ hour.
Confit can be refrigerated up to seven days or frozen.