Blood-Soup-art - 12/26/00
"Polish Black Soup - Czarnina" by Casamira Jawjalny, O.L.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set
of files, called StefanŐs Florilegium.
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Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be
reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first
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Mark S. Harris
AKA: Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Polish Black Soup - Czarnina
by Mistress Casamira Jawjalny, O.L.
Why is the world would anyone make this?
When I was a young child, I remember hearing about blood soup. I
remember the Polish name was pronounced "Czar NEE na". I think I even
ate some at my Uncle Al's house. I have no memory of the taste.
When I really wanted to gross out someone, I would bring up eating duck
blood soup. I never, in my wildest imagination, thought I would make and
eat this concoction.
However . . .
Mst. Anne de Junius offered the cook's guild of Loch Salann the
opportunity to obtain 3 geese that were to be "eliminated" from the
historic farm because they were pecking children visiting the farm.
Being a city girl, I had no experience with what was involved in taking a
live bird to the table, and saw this as an opportunity to experience the
steps my medieval ancestors went through to obtain a goose dinner. In an
effort to use every part of the goose, I though, why not use the blood?
I called my uncle, who said to drain the blood into a container, and mix
it with vinegar. It could be frozen before use. He promised to send the
family recipe for Czarnina.
I brought my large brewing bucket, which was used to collect the blood
from 3 geese. Only about 3 cups were collected, and I mixed the blood
with vinegar and froze it.
My thanks go to HL Connor Trygvasson for his skill with the machete,
while I held the camera. Master Edward Mendeith held each bird after the
neck was cut so that the blood drained into the bucket. With the second
bird, he paid more attention to where the bird's legs were positioned
while he held the bleeding fowl, thus his voice remained in the lower
Why does everyone say YUCK when asked to try Blood Soup or Blood Sausage?
There were old Hebrew traditions that prohibited eating blood.
Tannahill gives the theory that the bible implies man was originally a
vegetarian. 'And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant
yielding seed which is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree
with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food" ' (Gen. 1:29)
However, after the flood, when there was a population growth, the Hebrews
were granted permission to eat meat. "every moving thing that lives
shall be food for you …" However "You shall not eat flesh with its life,
that is, its blood" (Gen. 9:33-4) (2)
The Koran also prohibits ingestion of animal blood.
The ability to store meat depends upon removing the blood from the flesh,
and the most efficient way is to use the animal's heart. Thus, before
slaughter, the animal is stunned, and bled before it dies. If not eaten
fresh, it can be salted for preservation. Slaughterhouses are bloody,
and most folks consider blood distasteful. The kosher slaughter is done
swiftly to minimize animal trauma and allows the maximum amount of blood
to be removed from the animal. What blood remains is soaked out in cold
However, blood was consumed by other folks in medieval times.
Marco Polo described the Mongol Army's method of feeding soldiers while
on campaign. Each warrior on horseback had a string of 18 remounts.
About 1 cup of blood was obtained from a horse in the soldier's string to
feed the rider. A horse can sustain this loss every 10 days. The blood
was consumed raw since there were no cooking fires. This "daily ration"
was enough to sustain the army on campaign, and there was no need for
The Patzinak tribes of the 11th century also drank blood when there was
no water. (2)
Svartsoppa, a Viking dish made from pig's blood during the autumn
slaughter was a velvety blood soup. Tannahil comments, " . . . though it
was unlikely that the Vikings ever bother to cook it! (2)
Blood that clots can be formed into sausage and blood sausage is
documented in Larousse. (3) Blood sausage was introduced to Poland before
1000 A.D from German-speaking areas. It is known that blood was supplied
to the royal kitchens for the purpose of preparing a blood soup called
czernina (or juszka in old Polish) . . . Blood from ducks, geese and pigs
was used. (1)
Larousse Gastronomique states:
"The blood of butchered animals has no part in nutrition, but is has a
number of industrial uses (the treatment of wines, clarification of
sugar, the manufacture of coal products, fertilizers, etc.)."
However, it goes on to discuss the use of pig blood used to make boudin
(black pudding), and the blood of rabbit, hare and chicken is used to
thicken the dishes called civits. There are several other references to
Because of the high iron concentration, blood is nutritious. It is not
often accepted as part of our modern diet, however.
The Recipe is an old family recipe attributed to Frances Wloszczynska,
5-6 lb duck OR 3-5 lb spare ribs or pork loin ribs.
Fowl trimmings (if available)
1 Gallon Water
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
4 whole peppercorns
4 T flour (More if a thicker soup is desired)
1 T sugar (More to taste)
2 T salt
2 T pepper (More to taste)
1/2 c vinegar (More to taste)
1 c sweet cream, whipping cream or dairy sour cream
Apples or pears - peal, core and chop into pieces less than 1/2 inch
Dried fruit: 1/2 lb pitted prunes 1/2 lb raisins
2 c duck or goose blood OR 1/2 c pig blood.
32 oz prune juice with pulp may be substituted for blood.
1/2 tsp crushed marjoram
4 whole allspice* *Not period and not used!
4 dried orange peels-ground** **Not used, not readily available in Poland
In a soup kettle, cover meat and foul trimmings with water and boil
slowly 1-3 hours depending on the size and age of the duck.
Skim off foam from top of soup.
Place spices in cheese cloth bag and add to soup.
Boil slowly until meat is tender.
Remove meat and spice bag from soup. Reserve meat to be added back later.
Take out 1 cup of boiling stock and set aside.
Add fruit to soup.
Boil until apples or pear are soft.
In a separate bowl, blend the flour, sugar, salt and pepper into 1/2 c of
the blood until smooth.
Add cream to the flour mixture. Mixture should be a light paste.
Add the 1 c of hot soup stock and mix until smooth.
Add vinegar and blend.
While soup is still boiling, add flour mixture and remaining blood (or
prune juice if no blood was used).
If a thicker soup is desired, add 1 c of pureed prunes.
Boil another 5-10 minutes. Meat may be returned to the soup.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Allow to cool and place in refrigerator.
Allow soup to stand overnight before serving.
Because of the raisins, prunes and fruit, the soup will be sweeter the
I had no idea what this would taste like. I followed the recipe, and
took my chances. I did not use the allspice or the dried orange peel
because allspice is modern, and it doesn't appear that orange peel would
be common in the Polish kitchen.
I did not use pear, only apples.
I didn't remove the hot soup to mix into the roux until just before it
was needed - therefore it contained the boiled apple. I don't think this
affected the flavor.
Much to my surprise, I liked the flavor! It has more pepper than I would
like, but probably was ok for medieval tastes, since I am not fond of a
lot of pepper. The sweet and sour fruit flavor is delightful.
The members of the Loch Salann Cook's Guild, (folks who are brave in
their food adventures) that attended the Great Goose Feast all had the
opportunity to sample this culinary experiment. They gave it mixed
reviews. One person declined to sample it. Two tasted it, but did not
eat the small portion they were given. Three of us had second helpings!
Others ate their portions.
This is certainly NOT a dish that I would offer for general consumption
at a feast. It might be used if a choice of several different soups were
available, and each guest was given the opportunity to choose a soup.
1. Food and Drink in Medieval Poland - Rediscovering a Cuisine of the Past
Maria Dembinska, translated by Magdalena Thomas. Revised and Adapted by
William Woys Weaver. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA 1999 ISBN 0-8122-3224-0
(Pages 89-90 discuss blood soup.)
2. Food in History. Reay Tannahill
Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY 1973, 1988 ISBN 0-517-57186-2
3. Larousse Gastronomique, The Encyclopedia of Food, Wine & Cookery
Prosper Montagne, translated by Nina Froud, Patience Gray, Maud M7rdoch
and Barbara Macrae Taylor. Edited by Charlotte Turgeon and Nina Froud
Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, NY 1961
4. Recipe from Albert Ostrenga, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Copyright 2000 by Jeanne Schweiger <jeannes1401 at juno.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in
the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also
appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being
reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.