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Czarnina Authentic Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

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Czarnina Authentic Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

A symbolic Polish soup, the traditional czernina is made with duck blood. If you want to taste something different yet steeped in tradition, try this popular Polish duck blood soup!

Sometimes jokingly referred to as a chocolate soup because of its brownish color, the Polish duck blood soup is a popular Polish dish from the Central and Northern parts of Poland. You won’t find it cooked in the Southern part of Poland so much.

Even though I was born and raised in Poland, the first time I had this soup was after I started this blog! Many of you asked about the authentic czarnina recipe. I am lucky enough that my hubby is from Central Poland, so some of his family members are still cooking this soup.

When I found out that our auntie Ania is visiting my hometown, I knew it’s the perfect opportunity to learn how to cook czernina. Everybody says she cooks it best. After a quick phone call asking if she should teach me how to make this soup, I found out that there is nowhere I can buy duck blood! 

I asked on local Facebook groups and finally, someone suggested I could order it online. I found a farmer from Northern Poland who agreed to ship it to me. I was really excited when the package arrived!

I and my auntie made a video cooking czarnina soup. You can watch it below.

The Symbolism And The History Of Czarnina Soup

But what’s czernina and what’s all the hype about?  

Czernina, often called czarna polewka (pronounced char-na po-lev-ka) is a soup made with duck blood. You can use the same recipe with goose blood, pig blood, or rabbit blood too. 

This soup was very symbolic in Poland in the last few centuries. Till the 19th century, it was served during marriage proposals. If a young man who was a suitor was rejected by his beloved, he was served czernina, the duck blood soup. 

So duck blood soup meant no for proposals. This soup must have broken a lot of hearts! Of course, things are different now, and you don’t have to serve your suitor duck blood if you don’t like him. 

A bowl of Polish duck blood soup with cheese and mushrooms.

Did you know that the czernina is so popular that it was also mentioned in “Pan Tadeusz”, a national Polish poem-epic?

Czarnina soup is popular at the Easter dinner and other celebrations too. Sour because of the vinegar and sweet because of the fruit, this sweet-sour Polish soup is so toothsome!

How To Cook Polish Duck Blood Soup?

Step 1 – Prepare the Duck Stock

Duck stomachs.
Duck stomach chopped into bits

Cover the duck meat and stomachs with water.

Allow this to an almost-boil to make stock. Make sure the stock does not boil, or it will lose its taste.

If you see any white foam forming at the top, just discard it. This foam is absolutely normal and called szumy.

Once you’ve gotten rid of all the szumy, add the veggies and spices to the pot and allow to simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Once it’s done, strain the broth. Cut the duck stomachs into pieces.

Step 2 – Add Fruits And/Or Dried Fruits

Pears in the stock.
Pears softening in the stock

Heat the stock very slowly. Make sure it doesn’t boil or it will get muddy. Cut the pears into wedges and add to the stock, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes till they are soft.

You can replace the pears with dried plums, prunes, apricots, cherries, raisins, apple slices, or any fruits of your choice.

Step 3 – Prepare Duck Blood

You usually can’t buy fresh duck blood. The duck blood you bought from the store will contain either vinegar or salt.

But if you are one of the lucky ones living near a farm where you can buy duck blood, make sure you mix it with about 1/4th cup vinegar and refrigerate it till you need to use it.

Duck blood for cooking.
About 5/6th cup of duck blood

If you buy the blood with vinegar in it, it’ll only smell of vinegar and not of blood. So in this case, you mustn’t add vinegar to the soup. But if you can smell blood, it means it’s mixed with salt. In this case, you need to add about 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soup later.

Once the pears are soft, we start with the soup. Mix the duck blood with a fork to ensure there are no blood clots.

Mix about 1 tablespoon of flour with the blood till all the lumps disappear and you get a smooth consistency.

Step 4 – Thicken The Duck Blood Soup

Adding duck stomachs to the broth.
Adding chopped duck stomachs to the duck broth

Add the chopped duck stomach to the soup and cook.

Next, take a few tablespoons of stock and add to the duck blood so that it warms up. You don’t want to add cold duck blood to the soup because that’ll form lumps.

Add this blood to the soup and stir well. After some time, season with salt and pepper, and add as much sugar as you prefer. 

If your duck blood didn’t contain vinegar, now is the time to add it.

Step 5 – Serve And Eat The Soup!

Serve the czarnina soup warm with your favorite add-ons! It’s so tasty, you won’t even realize you’re consuming blood. 

What To Serve Czarnina With?

Here are the best accompaniments that complement czarnina soup:

Czarnina with noodles.

Tips For Making Czernina Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

  • You can cook the duck stock a day earlier if you wish. The recipe is similar to the chicken stock recipe
  • You can replace the pears with dried plums, prunes, apricots, cherries, raisins, apple slices, or any fruits of your choice.
  • You only need 1 cup of duck blood for 5 to 6 cups of duck stock.
  • You can add more or less vinegar depending on how sour you want the soup.
  • Add more or less sugar depending on how much fruit you add or how sweet you want it.
  • Serve with noodles and fruit.
  • You can also top the czernina with a spoonful of sour cream or chopped parsley. 
  • As many Polish people will tell you, don’t call it duck blood soup. Call it czarnina because it’s truly much more than a duck blood soup!

FAQs About Czarnina Recipe: Polish Duck Blood Soup

Why Is The Soup Named Czarnina?

The soup gets its name from the ‘czarny’ which means black in Polish. This is because the soup gets really dark in color once the blood is added to it. 

How To Pronounce Czarnina?

Czarnina is pronounced char-nee-na or cha-nee-na

Aren’t You Being Cruel To Animals?

No, the ducks are already dead when the blood is drained from them. These ducks are usually raised for meat and not killed merely for the blood. 

However, in the past, it wasn’t like that. People were letting ducks die slowly while the blood from their throats was slowly running down. That’s probably the reason some of my family members don’t eat czernina. For them, it was a horror story, when they were forced to watch the ducks dying slowly in pain.

Where Can I Buy Duck Blood?

You can buy duck blood directly from a local farm or on a farmer’s market. Some butcher shops may also store it, but that’s very rare.

Can I Make Czernina Without Blood? 

Yes, there’s a version of czernina called ‘bloodless czarnina’ or ‘blind czernina’ that’s made without duck blood. In this version, you add pitted prunes to get the same color as the original duck blood soup. 

Why Do You Add Vinegar To The Czernina?

Vinegar, when added to duck blood prevents it from coagulating. So it’s important to add it to the soup. 

Why Is The Polish Czarnina Both Sweet And Sour?

The duck blood soup has sour vinegar that balances with the sweetness of the fruits added, which makes it both sweet and sour at the same time. 

How Long Can I Store Czernina Duck Blood Soup?

You can store leftover czernina soup in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. Reheat before serving. 

I Can’t Get Duck Blood Anywhere- What Can I Do?

You can replace duck blood with any other animal blood including pigs’ blood that is easier available.

Czernina Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Yield: 10 servings

Czarnina Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

A bowl of black bean soup with cheese and Polish duck blood soup on top.

A symbolic Polish soup, the traditional czernina is made with duck blood. If you want to taste something different yet steeped in tradition, try this popular Polish duck blood soup!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

Duck stock

  • half of the whole duck (1.5-2lbs)
  • 7oz (200g) of ducks' stomachs 
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ celery root
  • ½ onion
  • 1 celery stalk (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 allspice berries

Duck blood soup ingredients

  • ⅚ cup of duck blood
  • 2 tbsps of flour
  • 2 pears
  • 3 tbsps of vinegar (if it's not already in the duck blood)
  • 2-3 tbsps of sugar
  • salt, pepper
  • cooked noodles to serve

Instructions

How To Cook The Duck Stock?

  1. Wash the duck and ducks' stomachs and put them into the big pot (cut into smaller parts if necessary).
  2. Cover the meat with cold water and bring to an almost-boil (the soup CANNOT start boiling otherwise it will lose its taste)
  3. If you notice the white/dark foam on the soup, collect it with a tablespoon and throw away. It's called szumy and it's completely normal that you have it in your soup.
  4. When there will be no more szumy, peel or wash all the vegetables and put them into the soup.
  5. Add herbs and spices (without salt and pepper).
  6. Let the soup simmer for 1-2 hours. The longer you cook, the better the soup will be.
  7. When the stock is ready, strain all the ingredients out of the broth.

How To Make Czarnina Soup?

  1. Peel the pears and cut them into smaller pieces.
  2. Add them to 5 cups of clear duck stock and cook until pears are soft.
  3. In the meantime, mix the duck blood with a fork, making sure there are no clots.
  4. Add flour and keep mixing until there are no lumps.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of hot stock to the blood mixture and mix.
  6. Start pouring the blood mixture into the soup, stirring all the time.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar (if it wasn't added to the duck blood).
  8. Serve warm with cooked noodles.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 14g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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Did you like this czarnina Polish duck blood soup recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

17 Responses

  1. When I was a young girl my grandmother always made this.i know she.put vinegar, homemade dumplins, & raisins in it. I used to like it

  2. 70 YEARS ago my mother made this soup, but you cannot buy duck blood even in Greenpoint a large polish area. I think its against the law to sell animal blood. PLus where would you find a farm near you to buy it even if they sell it

    1. You can buy duck blood in the US, I have readers confirmed it. Maybe you will try to buy goose blood instead? I have heard it’s easier.

    2. Jojo, go to an authentic butcher, or call around first and see if they butcher pigs. I got a gallon of fresh pigs blood for $10. I immediately added good apple cider vinegar to it in the car on the way home. I then separated it into containers and into the freezer they went. I still have some left. I use more or less than a cup depending on the amount I’m making. I also love the cider flavor and I use prunes primarily, along with raisins for sweetness. I also use anise, clove, peppercorns, allspice and bay leaves and put them into homemade nylon bags and store them.
      The next alternative is the meat. Dark meat chicken or pork is used often. Kleuski (sp) egg noodles or homemade dumplings, or even gnocchi are added to the soup, then a dollop of sour cream on the top. BTW, I’ve never put sugar into the soup. Prunes really do the job well for sweetness.

      Hope this offers some decent suggestions!

  3. My Mother, now deceased, talked about eating this soup growing up. She grew up in the Polish section of Chicago and then on a farm. My Aunt continued the tradition and I remember “tasting” it as a child. Of course, I did not like it. Wish I could have some now. Will try to find the duck blood.

  4. In an 8 quart pot, add duck that’s been cut up and cleaned up. Add water until it’s 4″ above the duck. Add 1 or 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp marjoram (1/2 if powder), 1 sm onion diced, 1 stalk of celery. Cook until duck is tender. Remove duck and set one cup of stock aside to cool. Keep the pot on a low simmer. Czarnina batter: In a bowl, add cup of cooled (still warm) soup stock. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar until sugar is dissolved. Add vinegar and sugar mixture to duck blood. Then add duck blood to bowl with stock. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of flour. Once fully incorporated, strain for lumps. Add a handful of prunes or raisins. Bring soup kettle back to boil while slowly adding blood batter to soup pot, constantly stirring. Add duck back to kettle and simmer for five minutes. Everything is adjustable, water, sugar, vinegar, and flour. It’s all personal preference. The other thing she had to do was add more meat. She would add chicken (skin removed) to supplement the duck because duck was so expensive. You can use turkey or chicken in this manner if you are looking for more meat. You can use any kluski noodles you want, but Mrs. Weiss are the best if you can find them. They have a more homemade texture.

  5. I’m of 1st generation born in the U.S. My parents immigrated to America after WW2. Regarding the Czarnina tradition in marriage proposals, the story in family was that (among noble families) czarnina was always served at the dinner at which the proposal of marriage was made. But, the vinegar was added as only to the suitor’s soup as a sign of rejection.
    Having seen read your recipe, and of others in this post, I wondered about the inclusion of vinegar. Perhaps we misunderstood the details in the tradition. Is it possible the rejected suitor’s soup was deliberately “over-vinegar-ed”? Regardless, the suitor was expected to politely finish his entire portion of soup!

    1. Hi Ernest!
      The soup itself is a sign of rejection.
      Vinegar or salt must always be added to keep the blood fresh 🙂

  6. I’ve had Czarnina as a kid and loved it. I’ve found it almost impossible to get the blood here in Florida (I’m originally from Calumet City, IL, just south of Chicago). I’m looking for a recipe for mock Czarnina to make. I really miss the Czarnina from my childhood.

    1. Find a real butcher that butchers live pigs. Get blood from them, bring along vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar) add some to the blood. Clotting will start if left to sit for a short while. Use chicken thighs or pork for a more affordable meat, I do. Also, I prefer prunes and raisins for sweetness and prunes may offer the coloring for a mock version. ☺️

  7. Easter Sunday March 31, 2024
    I just read Deuteronomy 12, in God’s Word, The Bible. God Himself is telling His children before they go into The Promised land, to not eat the blood of animals, but pour it on the ground; because the life of anything, is in the blood. That it may go well with them, and their children, do not eat the blood of Any animal. Pour it in the ground. He didn’t say it to keep anyone from some party, because He is awful. He said it for our good. If He doesn’t know good, then who does? The excuse is for the dark color, that Czarnina, or Czernina has. Use real Chocolate powder then!! I always thought something was wrong with the brains, and mode of thinking; of those who would even want to make this crap 🍲 soup. My dad and grandmother, not only made it, but canned it. Then they would make us eat it. How horrific, the thought alone. Does it make it any better, in which way the duck or goose died, to justify it? No wonder it hasn’t gone well with me, in my life. My sister may have tolerated eating it, but I repent today for doing so!! The thoughts alone of it, are awful!! The Oriental have an awesome Sweet and Sour Soup, with Awesome flavor, that doesn’t require being Dracula to eat it. I want to obey God, as He cares for me. Now how about you?! The priests were for the masses, of those who could not read. That is No Longer an excuse for any of us!! Get out those Catholic Bibles people, and read for yourselves!! Your brilliant, so go ahead!! Don’t let anyone pull the wool over your eyes, and read it for yourselves!!💜✝️
    Happy Easter🪴❤️🌹

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