Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Czarnina...really?? (Polish Duck Blood Soup)

You say you want to make Czarnina  (Polish duck blood soup)? 
Because your grandmother used to make it when you were a child?   Well good luck with that!    Curiously enough, Czarnina is one of the most frequently mentioned classic recipes that is not in either of our books.  It’s not there for good reason – because it is almost impossible to find duck blood anywhere...  Peter called all around Northern Virginia looking for duck blood and no one here carries it – not the Safeway, not the Polish deli, not the gourmet grocery store, not the butcher, and not the Asian store.  No one carries fresh or frozen duck blood - unless you happen to live next to a duck farm.  And even then you have to get it fresh, and make the soup before the blood coagulates  (ugh!) 

You can find cow blood in most Asian stores and we suppose from a decent butcher, but Peter doesn’t have a clue how it would taste in comparison to duck blood.  He has never tried either and he is not about to.  Let Andrew Zimmern (the weird foods guy on the Travel Channel) tell us. 

So while researching this bloody topic Peter ran across several recipes for imitation Czarnina, also known as Blind or Bloodless Czarnina.  It gets its flavor from smoked meat, dried prunes and other fruit.  The flavor is very unique and intriguing, so here is an adaptation from different several recipes that could be easy to prepare and could be quite tasty. 

Imitation Czarnina
Serves 8

1 ham bone, meaty
3 quarts water
1 cup chili sauce
4 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces pitted prunes
1 small can (8 to 10 ounces) pears
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup vinegar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ cup half-and-half or ¼ cup heavy cream
1 package cooked egg noodles

In a large pot combine the ham bone, water, chili sauce, celery, onion, salt & pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer about one and a half hours, or until the ham meat starts to fall off the bone.  Let the soup cool; remove the bone and anything inedible.  Chop any large pieces of meat to a small dice.

Add the prunes, pears, raisins, and vinegar.  Bring to a simmer; cover and simmer for one more hour, then bring to a low boil.  Adjust the salt, pepper and vinegar to your taste.  Whisk the flour into the cream and add gradually to the pot while whisking enthusiastically.  Cook until thickened to the consistency of creamy tomato soup.  Taste one final time.  Serve over the egg noodles.

We promise to make a batch “soon” but in the mean time you be the next and be sure to let us know how it came out! 

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