Polish Duck Blood Soup {Czernina}

72 / 100
()

Polish Duck Blood Soup {Czernina}

Polish duck blood soup, depending on region of Poland is called “czernina” [chehr-knee-nah], “czarnina” [char-knee-nah] or sometimes “czarna polewka” [chahr-nah po-lev-kah], which means black liquid/black soup.

Duck blood soup is an “old school” delicacy. Recipe for this traditional soup was passed down from generation to generation and, in my family, it has not changed for the least 4 generations. I make it the way my grandma Stasia made it, and she made it how her mom and sisters made it. We would only eat it about once or twice a year. Despite its controversial reputation, we (my one-year-older brother and I) always enjoyed it when we were kids. I even watched my grandma through the whole process, killing the duck, draining the blood, plucking, gutting, portioning and then cooking. She was a pro at it. Didn’t even flinch.

I got the duck at the local farmer’s market, ready to cook. Maybe by the time I’m a grandma, I can be as bad ass as babcia was. For now, I’m pretty proud of myself for deboning it.

Polish Duck Blood Soup {Czernina}

The soup is prepared from duck parts, dried fruit and a flavorful vegetable broth. No cutting corners here and using boxed broth. If you want this to work, you gotta go full in and do it right. Get the fresh veggies, prepare the broth and the results will knock you off your feet. The end result will deliver a very mild, slightly sweet but also savory broth with hints of fruit. The very distinct flavor comes from the duck meat, not the blood. Very little blood added to it gives the chocolate color but only a little bit of flavor.

Polish Duck Blood Soup {Czernina}

I’m presenting it with thin egg noodles, just how we eat it.

Polish Duck Blood Soup {Czernina}

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: About 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 duck - we'll use breast bones, neck and giblets only
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/2 of small leek
  • 1/4 of a small celery root and a few twigs of the leafy part
  • 1/4 of an onion, burnt over a gas stove or on a dry pan
  • 6 peppercorns and allspice each (whole)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs of salt
  • 7 cups / 1.5 liters of water
  • 4-5 dried mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of dried apples
  • 10 prunes
  • 1/4 cup of dried pears
  • 1 cup of home-made canned tart cherries, plus 1 cup of cherry juice (or 1 - 14.5 oz / 400 g can of tart cherries)
  • 1 tbs of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup / 230 ml of cold water
  • About 3/4 cup / 180-200 ml of duck blood*
  • 1 tbs of vinegar
  • Additional salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp of sugar

Instructions

  1. Place dried fruit and mushrooms in 2 cups / 450 ml of water overnight or for at least 1 hour.

  2. Wash the duck, remove wings, breasts and legs leaving the breast bone, neck and gizzards to make a flavorful broth. If this is too difficult of a task, as your butcher for help.

  3. Place meat, carrots and vegetables in a medium pot and add water, salt, peppercorns, allspice and bay leaves. Boil on low heat for 1.5 hours. Remove meat and veggies from the pot and strain the broth.

  4. Place broth back on heat. Add reconstituted fruit and mushrooms and tart cherries simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, mix flour with cold water well (no clumps). Mix blood with vinegar and add to water/flour mixture. Pour into soup, and bring to boil. Turn off. Taste, add a bit of salt and sugar, if needed. Amount of sugar will depend on the level of sweetness in dried fruit and cherries. Soup should be slightly sweet and a savory. Vinegar is not a super prevalent flavor in it. Add salt and sugar bit by bit to get to a desired flavor.

Notes

Serve hot, over noodles or other favorite dumplings.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Happy cooking!

Anna

*blood is normally sold with addition of vinegar, but feel free to add another 1 tbs of vinegar to cold blood mixture before combining with water/flour mixture.


72 / 100
()

My new cookbook is out now!

Polish cookbook


All donations will now be forwarded to the Polish Red Cross in support of Ukraine and war refugees. 

 


Visit my YouTube channel


Support us by shopping in our merch store!!


polishyourkitchen.com


WANT TO GET MY NEXT RECIPE VIA EMAIL? TYPE IN YOUR EMAIL BELOW:

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?


SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

31 Comments

  1. My grandmother use to make this soup many years ago. She also killed one of her
    ducks and dressed it. I don’t remember her using all of the ingredients that you have
    listed, hers was simpler. She also made her own home made noodles with it
    which made the soup even better. When I was a kid and ate it, I did not know what
    was in it. My parents were from Dickson City, Pa., where a lot of Poles settled
    after my grandparents came to America. We made the duck soup for a while
    and then were not able to get the blood anymore as it is against a health violation to
    get the ducks blood. My aunt made a mock soup but then, again I do not know how she made it.

    1. Many years ago, I lived on a farm in Michigan. For those that wanted duck blood, my dad would process it for them. They would provide the duck(s) and my dad would, literally, cut their head off, and put their neck in a sterilized container, drain and then seal. Similar to chickens, however, he did not save the blood of chickens. He would let them run around “with their heads cut off”. Literally!

  2. Hi Margo and Anna,

    I have the same question. I am hoping that there might be a canned, bottled or even frozen something to use in place of the fresh blood. Being from Milwaukee, and loving Chicago, it was not hard for me to find charnina on the menu in better Polish restaurants. I have asked many people what to use as a substitute and never got a satisfactory answer. Mostly, I just leave it out. But, one day I decided to try Kitchen Bouquet. Start with very, very little. My idea was to add that beautiful dark color and the KB did that perfectly. Whatever it did to the taste was perfectly OK in my book and I loved the soup. So, that is what I do now. As far as I am concerned, this is now what MY charnina is supposed to taste like.

    One more question … I have been lead to believe that there are two basic versions of charnina in Poland. One is called “Sweet Charnina” and the other is “Sour Charnina”. Since this recipe contains vinegar, I am going to guess that it is the sour version. Could someone set me straight on this, please?

    1. If you are from Milwaukee,you can find the duck and duck blood (frozen) at tower chicken 6th and waterford . The other acceptable sub would be pork blood and that can be found at the asian market on 27th and ramsey. The Polish restaurant that has it is Polonez 4016 Packard ave. in St. Francis

      1. I grew up on the lower Eastside of Milwaukee, my Grandpa would make to serve at his tavern and he would make the potato dumplings. He would sometimes add pork neck bones to bulk it up to sell. God I miss him so much.

  3. My 91 year old mom recently asked me if I had a czernina recipe. She said she had a taste for it. I will print this recipe and give it to her. Actually, it is mom’s way of asking me to make some. Duck is not readily available where I live. At Christmas I might find a frozen duck. I have made many adjustments to my Babcia’s recipe over the years. This starts with a meaty ham bone. Once, on a Jamaican vacation, I substituted goat. Go ahead. Laugh. However, the addition of the fruit made everyone lick their lips. It is also where, many years ago, I discovered Browning (thick dark caramel sauce in a small bottle) which I now use to darken all kinds of dishes without adding any flavour. I can now find it in the International aisle of my large chain grocery store. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  4. Anna, your recipe is very close to my grandmothers that has been passed down for generations. Very difficult to find fresh duck these day, but there is no substitute. Grandma used pear and white raisins. We would serve it over potato dumplings. A few resturants on the west side of Detroit have it, but very $$$$$. Thank you for sharing!

  5. My friend uses cow blood since she can’t get duck blood. It tasted just fine. So I guess you can use blood from other animals. My babcia never used fruit. That is how I like it. We called it chocolate soup when I was a child. Many many years ago

  6. my grandmother used to make this, and i loved it as a child. she gave me my first anatomy lessons while she was cleaning the duck. i quit eating this after she got live ducks from my uncle- i wasn’t going to eat anybody i played with!

    1. I cook breast (salted and peppered) in a sauté pan skin down on low to “melt” the fat for several minutes, flip when skin has browned and cook the other side. Pop into a hot oven and cook for another 10 min or so to get it a medium temperature. Legs will do great roasted til meat comes off the bone.

  7. I married into a Polish family. They have been making duck soup for many generations also. When I became a part of the family, at first I didn’t like duck soup after I heard it had duck blood in it. That changed! I had my husband’s grandma teach me (and hubby learned also) how to make duck soup. At that time we had access to live ducks and my husband quickly learned how to kill, bleed and dress the ducks. Of course I never wanted to witness the killing but once the head was removed I was right in there picking the feathers off. Now we buy frozen ducks and have to make it without the blood. But it’s still good! Your recipe sounds good but our family recipe only uses prunes and apples and onions. We also use Sweet Marjoram. Not the allspice nor the bay leaves. I suppose different regions us different recipes. I also learned how to make the potato noodles and the egg noodles. And the polish donuts are a favorite with my children and grand children. A couple of my grandsons insist on frying them! We all love them! We will certainly try some of your recipes. Thank you!

  8. This looks very different from the soup my mother made, and hers used at least a quart or 2 of ducks blood. I am from Buffalo, NY and we could go to the Broadway market where she bought the ducks blood. I don’t remember her buying a duck ever. The soup was sweet and thick, Grandma made the noodles. It was a feast!

    1. Deborah, that’s interesting how different some recipes can get. Czernina was always made with duck in my family with only a little blood added (as much as you get from one duck). It was a practical thing… kill a duck, make soup and use the blood. Possibly, the recipe evolved over the years once your family moved overseas and availability of ingredients changed, or that’s just how your family made it. Hard to tell.

    2. That’s funny because I too grew up near the Broadway Market I Buffalo N Y, and my Mom, who cane from a family of thirteen, and grew up on a working farm, always used duck or pork, we liked it made with the pork less fatty, carrots, celery, onions, lots of prunes and raisins, blood, vinegar, flour ,salt and pepper.. home made noodles……making a pot right now….

      1. My mom went to the Broadway market also but she made the soup mostly with pork as you do. My mother in law made hers with duck. When dispatching the duck they would peel the feathers off of the head, bend the head to the neck and slice the head to bleed out the blood, effectively killing the duck. You had to mix a small amount of vinegar with the blood to keep it from clotting. She only used the blood from one duck. My mom got her blood from the market and it was pigs blood. I still make it but I use duck as I love the flavor and buy the blood from Redlinski meat market who moved out of the market years ago. I also get my duck from them. We make it more on the sweet side and love it. Thanks for the memories.

  9. Back when I was young in Baltimore Maryland (1953 to 1959) my mom and I would go to the market and she would pick out and buy a duck and have the man kill and save the blood, it was usually a cup or 2. We would go home and make the soup and mom would roast the duck just like a chicken or turkey. She used prunes and ginger snaps in hers and we had it with potato dumplings. I loved it and I love roasted duck too.

  10. My husband is a duck hunter. My friend would like the blood from one of his ducks so she can make duck blood soup. She thinks she needs a cup for the soup. What’s the best way to drain the blood out of the duck?

    1. Amy, my grandma would always hold beak to neck and make a cut at the top of the head (you might need to pluck some feathers to expose skin). Have a container ready, so the blood can drain directly into the container (clean glass jar will do). Add some vinegar right away (a couple of tablespoons will do) so the blood doesn’t clump. Store in the fridge until soup’s ready.

  11. Hi Anna,
    Being of Polish descent, I love your blog. Visited Poland earlier this year and have a renewed interest in Polish cooking. Caveat: I’m mostly vegan (and always vegetarian) and am wondering if you have any ideas for how to veganize czernina — seems like a tall order perhaps. I grew up eating czernina and loved it. Then became a vegetarian. Would love to enjoy a vegan version of it again someday. Any ideas? Thank you!

    1. Laura, that would be quite the challenge. I would be curious to see if one can make a vegetarian version. How about making a veggy broth (carrots, wild/dried mushrooms, parsnip, selery root, burnt onion, allspice, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt), then adding some dried fruit, like in the duck blood soup recipe, cherries with juice, thickening it with roux (dark roux – burn the flour a bit). Maybe to add a bit of flavor, finish it off with a couple of tablespoons of butter. Are you willing to try? If you do, please let me know! Anna

  12. My mother and her sisters used to make this with homemade Kluski hand cut noodles. They never put fruit in their version of this soup. We like it better without the prunes, raisins and any other fruit that some people use in it. I tried the fruit version once in Hamtramck Michigan at a small Polish restaurant and I definitely did not like that version at all. I almost up chucked it when I tasted it. They never heard of not putting the fruit into it. My mother also killed the duck on the spot and got the blood herself for making this soup. My sisters and brothers all liked it my moms way too. I did manage to find one place in Pittsburgh PA that made the version my moms way and it was like the good old days when I had it there but not sure if they are still in business there today or not. Just wondered if you ever had it without the fruit in it.

    1. I have not had it without the fruit. We are all keen for the flavors of our homes. It’s what we grew up with. No harm, no foul. If I was to make it without fruit I think I would like to make it spicy with lots of black pepper and marjoram. How did your mom make it?

  13. I remember my mother making this soup on special holiday’s. She didn’t use all the fruit you listed, but she did use prunes, apples and raisins. I also remember her adding some sour cream to the blood, then tempering that slowly with the hot stock, so as not the curdle the sour cream. It was so delicious. Now, the only way to get this soup is at a Polish restaurant in Hamtramck, MI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.