In Julie and Julia, our protagonist who has spent the year tackling the recipes in Julia Child’s seminal work Mastering the Art of French Cooking is faced with the daunting task of boning a duck. Through the magic of Hollywood, she manages a picture-perfect rendition of Pâté de Canard en Croûte on her first try.
While Hollywood ducks and cooks might benefit from chef consultants, for the rest of the inhabitants of the planet, let’s take a closer look at what’s involved here.
Boning a duck, or anything for that matter, takes a little patience. The reward is presenting a dish at your table that will be as impressive as it is delicious, and it’ll feed twice as many people as well. And it’ll take you about twenty minutes, thirty if it’s your first time.
There’s really only a minimum of skill involved in boning a duck. Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes now, and allow me to explain. You need to be able to a) scrape meat away from bone; and b) disjoint the wings and legs. That’s the total sum of skill needed. So let’s jump right in, shall we?
The Whole Duck
Start with the duck breast down, neck facing away from you.
The First Cut
Using a paring knife, slit the duck down its back from neck to tail. Following the curve of the ribs, scrape the meat free from the bone. When you reach the joint where the wing connects to the shoulder, sever the tendons and twist the joint free. Repeat for the joint where the leg connects to the thigh.
Completing the Boning
Follow the curve of the ribs and remove the breastbone. Remove the thin shoulder bones. Remove the paddle-shaped hip bones. Find the small bones in the neck area and remove them.
The Boned Duck
When you're done, you'll have a boned duck and a pile of bones. Boil the bones for stock. Then get ready to stuff the duck.
Stuffing the Duck
Use whatever you like to stuff the duck. Traditional stuffing, pate, whatever you like.
Trussing the Duck
What? No trussing needle? Me either. So instead, I used bamboo skewers, then laced the skewers together.
Lacing the Duck
I criss-crossed the twine, tightened the seam, then twisted it back over the skewer. If you're not sure what I mean, watch the video below.
The Finished Duck
Once roasted, slice the duck crosswise
Just promise me one thing; you won’t use your powers for evil. And by evil I mean turducken.