Czarnina Authentic Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Czarnina with noodles.

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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.

 All About The Czernina Soup!

Duck blood soup.
Duck blood soup with noodles and pears

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. 

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

Part I – 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.

Part II – Make The Czernina Soup

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 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.

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.

Czarnina with noodles.
Serve czarnina with noodles

Serve the czarnina recipe with noodles such as kluski lane, egg noodles, or grey potato noodles. It’s so tasty, you won’t even realize you’re consuming blood. 

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 watch how to do it here.
  • 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

Polish duck blood soup in a white bowl.
Serve the Polish duck blood soup with noodles and fruit

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. 

Czernina Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Czarnina Polish Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Czarnina 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!

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.

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