If you were a suitor in 19th-century Poland, receiving a bowl of duck blood soup was a bad sign. The dense, dumpling-laded soup was a way for peasant families to decline a marriage proposal. And while czernina no longer holds such potent flavors of rejection, the blood-based soup still occasionally graces tables and restaurants specializing in Polish fare.
Czernina relies on fresh blood, drained straight from the duck and kept in vinegar to prevent coagulation. Chefs will often keep the whole duck for roasting, using the (peeled) feet and giblets to make a meaty-flavored broth. Dried fruits such as prunes, apples, or pears contribute to the soup’s unique sweet-sour tang, while green herbs provide an earthy backbone. Lastly, adding blood and fresh sour cream readies the inky black soup for pouring over potato dumplings or noodles.
Thick, creamy, and iron-rich, this “black soup” might be worth risking rejection.
Need to Know
If you can't find fresh duck blood, frozen blood can also be used to make czernina and is available at some specialty butchers.
- Klimková, Eva. "Człowiek w świetle polskiej i czeskiej frazeologii-wybrane zagadnienia/The Concept of Being Polish and Czech Phraseology." (2008).
- ŁADYŻYŃSKI, ANDRZEJ. "Narzeczeństwo–dawne i współczesne. Zmiana w sposobie przygotowania się do małżeństwa/Engagement in the past and in the present. Change in the way of preparing for marriage." Wychowanie w Rodzinie 3 (2011).