Duck or goose blood soup, known variously as czarnina (char-NEE-nah), czernina and czarna polewka, is a Polish favorite that originated as a way to use up every part of a slaughtered duck or goose. See how it got its name, below.
If you don't have access to a freshly slaughtered duck or goose and its blood, you may be able to purchase the blood at a Polish deli and duck parts from a butcher (or use blanched pork neck bones). If blood isn't available or distasteful, try ślepo (blind) czarnina, which is blood free.
My grandmother always creamed her czarnina and served it with kluski noodles. Here is more about cooking with blood.
- 2 cups blood from a freshly killed duck (or goose)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3 pounds duck parts (or goose parts or 3 pounds blanched pork neck bones)
- 10 cups water (cold)
- 1 bay leaf (or stock sachet)
- 1/4 teaspoon marjoram (cloves, allspice are optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups dried fruit (prunes, raisins, pears, apples)
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Mix fresh blood with vinegar so it won't clot, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Or you can buy the blood already mixed with vinegar at some European specialty stores.
- Place duck pieces in a large pot. Cover with at least 10 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
- Add a bay leaf or stock sachet, if desired, marjoram and other spices, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.
- Add the dried fruit and cook 1 more hour. Remove meat from bones and return to the pot.
- Let the soup cool in an ice bath and refrigerate, if necessary, to make skimming off the fat easier, and prevent curdling once the blood and half-and-half are added.
- When the soup is chilled, pour half-and-half into a large bowl. Add flour and fork blend until smooth. Add 3 ladles of cold soup and reserved blood-vinegar mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Transfer back to pot with remaining soup and heat gently until soup is thickened and the raw flour taste is cooked out, about 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings, vinegar, and sweetness, if necessary. Serve with soup kluski or potato dumplings.
Where Does Czarnina Get Its Name?
Czarnina gets its name from the Polish word for "black" -- czarny -- referring to the soup's dark color. It is typically made with duck or goose blood, dried fruits, and vinegar which prevents the blood from clotting, giving it a sweet-sour flavor, much loved by Eastern Europeans.
Old World Czarnina Tradition
In the past, unsuccessful Polish suitors would receive czarnina from the maiden's parents to let them know their advances were not welcome.