In a bowl, combine the salt, pepper, juniper berries and garlic. In a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking dish, arrange the quails and sprinkle with the salt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
Drain the quails and pat dry. Place back into the cleaned baking dish. Cover with the duck fat and add the thyme. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 3 hours or until the meat falls easily off the bone.
Serve the quail confit with a green salad and Sea Buckthorn Chutney, or use in Quail, Ricotta and Lemon Ravioli (see recipe).
For any confit, nothing works better than duck fat. If you can’t find it, use olive oil with a very light flavour. Extra virgin olive oil is not suitable for this type of cooking because of its overwhelming taste.