The Czernina or duck blood soup comprises duck or goose blood, dried fruits, and vinegar. It is characterized by its sweet-sour flavor and is commonly found in Eastern Europe. But did you know there is a reason why it is specifically served to men?
The Polish soup Czernina made out of duck blood is traditionally served to young men who have been rejected by their significant other when asked their hand in marriage.
The Tradition Behind the Duck Blood Soup
If you were a young gentleman in Poland during the 19th century, being served a bowl of duck blood soup or Czernina is definitely a bad sign. The soup was a way for peasant families to decline a marriage proposal. In modern times, the soup no longer holds the bitter taste of rejection, but it still makes an appearance on some occasions and is served in restaurants that specialize in Polish cuisine. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
How is the Czernina Made?
The key ingredient to the soup is fresh duck or goose blood that is directly drained from the bird and kept in vinegar to prevent it from clotting. The chefs then keep the rest of the duck for roasting, and the feet and giblets are utilized to add flavor to the soup.
Dried fruits like prunes, apples, and pears are also included to add sweetness to the soup that marries well with the sour base of the vinegar. Green herbs were added to provide the soup with a more earthy backbone. The thick and creamy soup is filled with iron and is incredibly delicious. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
The Origins of Czernina
Every step of the creation of the Czernina originated from Poland. The dish gets its name from the Polish world czarny, which means black. The color of the soup comes from the fresh blood used in making it. Czernina is nicely paid with kluski noodles or potato dumplings.
In the event you don’t have access to a freshly slaughtered duck or goose, you can easily purchase some at a Polish deli where it is already mixed with vinegar. Blanched duck parts or even pork neck bones can also be added. If the idea of consuming blood bothers you, there is a blood-free version of the soup called slepo czarina. (Source: The Spruce Eats)
Other Popular Blood Dishes
The idea of consuming food with blood, even cooked, may seem quite distasteful, but these dishes are part of their culture in several countries. Here are a few;
Snack Blood in Taipei
You can actually request a shot of snake blood in the Huaxi Night Market in Taipei. It is a significant tourist attraction mostly because it is pretty unusual. The process of extracting the blood from the snack does seem inhumane, but you can only find this kind of service here.
Blodplattar in Finland and Sweden
In Finland or Sweden, you’ll be able to find a dish called Blodplattar, which is basically a pancake made out of pork blood. The blood is whipped with flour, molasses, onion, and other spices and then cooked the same way you’d make a pancake. It is often served with sweet fruits, jam, or syrup and then rolled up like a crepe.
Blood Tofu in China
Chinese cooks devised a way to take blood and coagulate it into a solid piece that makes it look like a dark red piece of tofu. This dish is often made with chicken, duck, or pig blood and is often referred to as black tofu. It is served with noodle soup. (Source: Ranker)