Paul Royce explains his recent pursuit of a boned duck:
According to culinary historians the introduction of boned fowl to haute cuisine began during the reign of Henry VIII of England. That monarch, as famous for his carnivorous propensities as for those carnal, choked on the drumstick of a duck during a bout of speed eating. He was rescued by Sir Thomas More who stood behind him, clasped his hands together and with an upward motion squeezed the King’s abdomen just below the rib cage causing the drumstick to come free of his windpipe, fly from his mouth, and land in the bosom of a young woman sitting opposite the King. This first known use of the Heimlich maneuver saved the King’s life but resulted in a riot as courtiers fought to determine who would dislodge the drumstick from the damsel’s cleavage. From that time on the King ate only boned fowl and some time later he showed his gratitude to the inventive More by executing him.
Julia Child brought boned duck preparation to the attention of American foodies with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. A guide for boning a duck can be found on page 570. I have never tried the en croute recipe that follows.
I leave the duck meat in situ and do not cut it into cubes as she recommends. With the duck skin side down, I stuff it with sweet Italian sausage augmented with shelled pistachios, dried fruit, and a generous splash of cognac. Do not suture the roast too tightly because the skin will shrink and the stuffing may expand resulting in a ruptured duck. The somewhat limp, but not too limp, preparation is baked at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
With a little luck you will rewarded with a preparation similar to the one pictured. I prepare the roast a day or two before serving and refrigerate it when it has cooled. Serve it at room temperature.