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.
Czarnina gets its name from the Polish word czarny for "black," referring to the soup's dark color. It is typically made with duck or goose blood, dried fruits, and vinegar, giving it a sweet-sour flavor, much loved by Eastern Europeans. And it can be paired nicely with kluski noodles or potato dumplings. In the past, unsuccessful Polish suitors would receive czarnina from the maiden's parents to let them know their advances were not welcome.
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, where it will already be mixed with vinegar to keep it from clotting. You can also get 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.
- 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 (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 2 cups dried fruit (prunes, raisins, pears, apples)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Gather the ingredients.
Mix fresh blood with vinegar so it won't clot, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Blood from a Polish deli will already be mixed with vinegar, so you can simply keep it refrigerated.)
Place duck pieces in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
Add a bay leaf or stock sachet, marjoram, and other spices if desired, and salt and pepper. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for an hour.
Add the dried fruit and cook for another 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 to 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 the pot with remaining soup and heat gently until soup is thickened and the raw flour taste is cooked out, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf or stock sachet. Adjust seasonings, vinegar, and sweetness, if necessary.
Serve and enjoy.