A Deliciously Tasty Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Czernina, or duck blood soup, is a type of soup that is served in the central and northern sections of Poland during the long cold winter months and during the Easter holiday. It is considered a bit of a traditional delicacy, often with hundreds of variations of recipes passed down from one-to-many generations. Czernina, which is pronounced CHAR-nina and is among the oldest Polish soup recipes, is also found in Belarus as well as Lithuania – and in Sweden, there is a similar soup known as svartsoppa that is associated with Saint Martin folklore.

The flavor of duck blood soup is unique, characterized by a faintly sweet and sour taste that is highlighted by delicate mineral-rich flavors/notes. Because duck blood is an essential ingredient in this soup, it is chock full of vitamins and minerals, but like most things in life, it may not be to everyone’s preference.

How to Make A Deliciously Tasty Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Generally, the sweet and sour taste of the soup is crafted from a carefully balanced blend of sugar and vinegar, which can be adjusted to your preference at the end of the cooking process.

  • Preparation Time – 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Cooking Time – 5 hours.
  • Total Time – 5.5 hours.
  • Serves – 8

Ingredients For this Deliciously Tasty Duck Blood Soup Recipe

The ingredient list is extensive for this rich soup, as this is what creates its varied layered flavors.

  • 1 Duck – You will only need the breast bones, neck, and giblets.
  • 3 Carrots – Chopped Roughly.
  • 1 Parsnip.
  • 1/2 of Small Leek.
  • 1/4 of a Small Celery Root – Plus a Few Twigs of the Leafy Part.
  • 1/4 of an Onion – Burnt Over a Gas Stove.
    Pro-Tip- You can achieve the same result by roasting it in a dry pan.
  • 6 Peppercorns and 6 Allspice Whole.
  • 3 – 4 Bay Leaves.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt.
  • 7 Cups of Water.
  • 4 – 5 Dried Mushrooms.
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Apples.
  • 10 Prunes.
  • 1/4 Cup of Dried Pears.
    Pro-tip – You can replace the pears with any type of dried fruit – raisins, apricots, prunes, plums, cherries, etc.
  • 1 – 14.5 Oz. Can of Tart Cherries
  • 1 Tablespoon of All-Purpose Flour.
  • 1 Cup of Cold Water
  • About 3/4 Cup of Duck Blood
    Pro-tip – this is available at a Polish deli and is typically sold with vinegar already mixed in.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vinegar – Do NOT add if the duck blood you bought already has vinegar.
  • Additional Salt
  • ½ – 1 Teaspoon of Sugar

Cooking Directions For this Deliciously Tasty Duck Blood Soup Recipe

Although there are several steps, the end result is a mild, savory, slightly sweet broth with fruit notes throughout. The distinct flavor associated with this duck blood soup comes from the duck meat because very little duck blood is used – mainly to create the soup’s unique chocolate color.

Ahead of Time

  • Place the dried fruit and mushrooms in 2 cups of water. It is best if these ingredients can be left overnight – or, at a minimum, let them rehydrate for at least 1 hour.

Prepare the Duck

  • Wash the duck.
  • Remove the wings, breasts, and legs, but leave the neck/gizzards and breast bone to craft a flavorful broth, which is, ultimately, the base of this traditional Polish duck blood soup. A butcher can do this for you if you prefer.

Starting the Duck Blood Soup

  • Place the duck meat, carrots, and the rest of the vegetables in a medium pot.
  • Add the water, salt, peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaves.
  • Boil this mixture on low for 1.5 hours.
  • Remove meat and vegetables from the large pot.
  • Strain the broth.
  • Put the broth back on the heat.
  • Add the various fruit and mushrooms that have been reconstituted.
  • Add the tart cherries to the cooking soup and stir well.
  • Simmer the soup on a low to medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.

Finishing the Duck Blood Soup

  • Mix the flour with cold water until it is smooth and there are no clumps.
  • Mix the duck blood with vinegar (which has no real flavor when the soup is done) and add this to the water/flour mixture made in the previous step.
  • Pour this combined liquid into the soup, bring it to a boil, and turn off the heat.
  • Taste the soup and add salt or sugar as needed to create the desired flavor. The amount of sugar you will need depends on the actual sweetness of the dried fruit used in the soup – which varies with each batch you make. The finished soup should be savory but slightly sweet.
  • Ladle this unique and historically significant soup into bowls and top with chopped parsley, sour cream, or milk kefir.

To Serve

Traditionally, this delicious and different soup from cultures in Eastern Europe is served with one of the following –

  • Kluski Noodles – traditionally refers to any type of noodle, dumpling, or potato-based dough.
  • Polish Potato Dumplings (Kopytka) – these heavenly dumplings transform mashed potatoes into an amazingly delicious dish.


Why is it Called Duck Blood Soup?

Because this duck blood soup becomes quite dark when finished, the name is a play on the Polish word for black – Czarny.

Until the 19th Century, What Symbol Did Czernina Play in Polish Culture?

Until the 1800s, czernina was an important Polish cultural symbol. It played an important role when young men wanted to apply for the ‘hand in marriage’ of their beloved. If the suitor was rejected by the bride’s family, the answer would be a serving of czernina.

The soup has such historical significance that it has been used as a plot element in Adam Mickiewicz’s famous epic Polish poem – Pan Tadeusz.

Which Chef First Described the Methodology to Make Czernina?

Stanislaw Czerniecki, who was a chef to a royal family, first described this duck blood soup preparation in 1682. Even today, modern chefs can check out his recipes found in Compendium Ferculorum – which ranks among the oldest known Polish Cookbooks.

Is there a Version That Can Be Made Without the Blood?

The soup can be cooked without blood and is still quite different and delicious.

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