Polish Czarnina (Duck Blood) Soup Recipe

Czarnina - Duck Blood Soup

Despite the fact that I didn’t take my camera with me on my recent trip to Poland (hence the less than flattering photo), and the fact that this is hardly festive (actually, in retrospect, the cloves and allspice give this a great Christmas smell), I couldn’t resist sharing with you this crazy sounding but delicious sweet and sour soup made from duck’s blood.

Czarnina is pretty much a traditional Polish dish, yet shows just how much we in the Western world (UK, in my case) have become detached from our food.  All meat has blood in it, but the mere mention of a soup where blood is the primary ingredient still never fails to raise an eyebrow (even, in my “testing”, with people who gladly eat black pudding).  Indeed, I bet that’s what grabbed your attention in the headline.

There seems to be a thousand variations on this soup all around Poland.  I’ve tweaked my Mother In Law’s recipe slightly here to simplify it a bit (she’ll probably kill me), but I promise you’ll love it.  Still, it may turn out to be more of a theoretical exercise, since the chance of getting hold of a bottle of fresh duck blood (sold at practically every farmers’ market in Poland) may be easier said than done.  Still, if you have your own duck, or access to a freshly killed duck…

Recipe: Polish Czarnina (Duck Blood) Soup

This soup is rich and delicious and is well worth trying if you have the opportunity.

Ingredients

  • Fresh ducks blood (about 450ml or 2 cups)
  • 200ml (just less than 1 cup) white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • Various duck parts (offal included)
  • Marjoram
  • 5 Allspice buds
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 Pear
  • Handful of dried fruits including cherries and prunes
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste

Method

  1. If your duck blood is fresh, mix with the vinegar to prevent it clotting. If you’re buying it, it’s probably already mixed with vinegar anyway.
  2. Next step is to make a stock from the duck parts; throw them in a large pot with about 2.5 litres of water and the spices and slowly bring to the boil, taking any scum from the surface, before reducing the heat down to a simmer and leaving for 1 more hour or until the meat is tender.
  3. This is how my mother in law did the next bit; remove all the duck pieces and remove from the heat. Next, add in the fruit, blood, and flour (gradually) while stirring to thicken.
  4. Remove the meat from the bones and add back into the soup. Offal was served separately as a “chef’s perk”!
  5. Taste and season with salt, pepper and sugar as required.

Variations

My Mother In Law served it with potato dumplings, but you could use pasta.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

11 Comments

  1. Wow you have grabbed my attention, not with the blood but with the fruit. I have never had fruit in a hot soup before.

  2. What got my attention was the word ‘blood’ in the name. My thought was ‘Duck blood? Where in the world am I supposed to get duck blood for this recipe? I bet Kroger’s doesn’t carry THAT in a can’.
    After reading the recipe, my reaction is pretty much the same, only now, I want even MORE to try it. Now, where am I supposed to find duck blood?

    1. Best place for duck blood is, I beleive, inside a duck 😉

      Farmers market or ask someone who has (i.e. kills) their own ducks?

    2. The duck blood is a small part overall.Add prune juice in its place.Use it in conjunction with the sugar for the desired sweet- sour taste. My added reply (Leo) makes about 2 gal of duck with soup.The duck has a little blood. Years ago when my mom had a duck killed, it yielded less than 3 ounces anyway. I could never taste the difference! My mom had to adapt to the small change due to live poultry stores Quitting for new code requirements: separate cleaning and killing and keeping rooms, stainless steel tables, tile floors, vented ceilings etc.

  3. the blood is hard to come by these days. because duck is so greasy, my dad would use chicken. i’m trying applebutter for the color.my dad always said all the blood did was color it. let you know how it comes out!

  4. Leo. My German mother made it for my Polish father, called czarnina. My mom adapted a few changes due to no live ducks in area sold. A frozen duck thawed,cut up will do fine. Add prune juice and prunes for dark color(it helps sweeten the vinegar also with sugar to get the sweet-sour to taste). Add some bay leaves, salt pepper,diced onion, water to pot. Add dumplings or pasta noodles(shell macs etc.), it helps thicken.Slow simmer stir occasionally. Add the pasta later in simmering. I made and brought this soup to my mom in the nursing home frequently,because she loved it so.

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