The following section, compiled with the help of my incredibly cool friend Leslie Sittlow (Nesbitt), reviews some recipes from around the world that utilize blood as an ingredient. These blood recipes range from the extremely simple to the haughtiest of haute cuisine
Although it’s not really a recipe, shots of cobra blood accompanied by their still-beating hearts have been offered up for years in Taipei’s famed Snake Alley. Formerly a dark and mysterious part of the Wanhua Night market, Snake Alley has been roofed-in, lit up, and given a paved walkway - all to accommodate tourists. There, you can still purchase a shot of snake’s blood (for roughly $30). Exsanguination techniques seem to vary between vendors although some of the methods are particularly gruesome. In one “crowd pleaser”, the snake’s head is placed in a noose hanging from a metal pole. The handler then stretches out the snake’s body, before using a sharp knife to partially skin the reptile - all of this while it is still very much alive. The heart, which is readily accessible (if one knows where to look), is popped out - still beating - and eaten with a chaser of the snake’s blood, which has been drained into a glass. At other establishments, snakes are killed (or at least stunned) by having their heads whacked against a table. The snake is then hung upside down and sliced open so that its blood drains into a shot glass. After mixing it with a bit of local alcohol, the gruesome mixture is gulped down "neat". Customers may choose to wait around while remains of the snake are stir-fried or served in a soup.
Long before Snake Alley denizens were huffing cobra hearts to impress their girlfriends (or with the hope of bringing life to their own sagging snakes), Mongol armies were tapping their horses for a blood meal. According to Jerry Hopkins, in his entertaining book Extreme Cuisine. “The theory was that a horse could afford to lose a pint once every ten days, enough to keep the rider going and not impair the animal’s health strength. At the same time, the Mongols were saved the trouble of finding food in a strange and barren land, and did not have to gather scarce fuel for fires, which would have been seen for miles, alerting their enemies.”
From: Jerry Hopkins, Extreme Cuisine, (North Clarendon, VT, Tuttle Publishing, 2004), p. 269.
In perhaps the most basic of "recipes" calling for the use of blood, the Masai (or Maasai), semi-nomadic tribesmen from Kenya and Tanzania, obtain blood by piercing the jugular vein of their cattle with an arrow. After collecting the blood in a hollow gourd, the herdsmen mix it with milk before drinking it. The wounds to the cattle are sealed with a wad of mud and dung and the animal can be tapped again a month or so later.
Different cultures and/or regions have their own versions of blood sausage. These recipes are generally variable takes on a similar theme. Whatever the name – black pudding (UK, Ireland), boudin noir (France), blutwurst (Germany), morcilla (Spain), jelito (Czech), kaszanka (Poland), or mustamakkara (Finland), the main ingredients are as follows: blood – either from pig, sheep, lamb, cow, or goose (each author believing their choice is preferred); a filler that varies with region (e.g., oatmeal, buckwheat, breadcrumbs, barley, or other grains); onions and regional spices. All of these are typically smashed together and stuffed into to a sausage casing. Three examples are listed.
BLOOD SAUSAGE OR BLACK PUDDING
Have on-hand: sausage casings.
Cook gently without browning: ¾ c finely chopped onions in 2 tbs lard.
Cool slightly and mix in a bowl with:
1/3 c whipping cream
1/4 c breadcrumbs
2 beaten eggs
a grind of fresh pepper
1/8 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 bay leaf, pulverized
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb. leaf lard diced into ½ inch cubes
2 c fresh pork blood
“Fill casings only three-fourths full; the mixture will swell during the poaching period. Without overcrowding, put the sealed casings into a wire basket. Bring to a boil a large pan half full of water or half milk and half water. Remove pan from heat and plunge the basket into the water. Now return pan to very low heat – about 180º – for 15 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing sausage with a fork: if blood comes out, continue to cook about 5 minutes more until barely firm. Should any of the sausages rise to the surface of the simmering liquid, prick them to release the air that might burst the skins. To prepare, split and grill them very gently.”
From: Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, Joy of Cooking, (New York, Scribner, 1995), p. 497.
NAVAJO BLOOD SAUSAGE
1 sheep’s stomach
1 qt. fresh sheep blood
1/2 c stone-ground cornmeal
1 onion, minced
1/2 c chopped green chile pepper or hot yellow chile
1/2 c stomach fat, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
“Scrub the stomach well in cold water and turn inside out. Mix blood, cornmeal, onion, chiles and fat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Put mixture in the stomach and tie off into baseball-size sausages. Leave some air space in each sausage to allow room for expansion. Cover sausages with water in large kettle and simmer for about 4 hours.”
From: Sheila MacNiven Cameron, The Best from New Mexico Kitchens (New Mexico Magazine, Santa Fe, NM, 1978).
The following recipe is from Belgium and is the family recipe from the collection of Mr. Edward Boerboom, passed down from his parents Jacob and Louise Boerboom.
Years ago Jacob would go to the butcher shop and draw the blood from the pig himself. The procedure would involve hanging the live pig-head down, then drawing blood from a vessel in the animal’s neck. The blood was collected in a pail, constantly stirred, and the clots that formed were removed.
The reason for the do-it-yourself approach was that during the blood-letting process, the pig would urinate (which is no surprise) and presumably, if one was not careful (or had decided to dilute the blood volume a bit) some of the pig urine might get mixed into the collected blood. The best way then, to ensure the quality of the blood, was to collect it yourself.
1 gallon pig blood (pig is the best)
2 Tbsp salt per gallon of blood
2 loaves day old bread that have been set out to dry (not toasted) – grind down
2 c pearl barley – cooked
4 lbs. onion – chopped
3 lbs. of Pork Sausage
Salt, Pepper and Sugar to taste… Nutmeg optional
“Cook down ground pork and onions. Let cool. Put the bread through a grinder. Add bread, pearl barley and blood together with sausage and onion, salt, pepper – stir together.
Stuff sausage casings (using a sausage stuffer) in desired lengths, twisting the ends without cutting them. After links are stuffed, gently put in boiling water for 10 minutes – it’s very important at this stage to continue turning/moving the links in the water while cooking. Take a needle and poke links. If blood comes out cook them longer. When no blood comes out – they’re done.”
Edward and his wife Marie saved and used old milk cartons to freeze their sausage – now they use zip lock bags. They claimed that surrounding the sausage in water before freezing them kept them fresh longer. After thawing them out, they simply placed the sausages in a frying pan with a little butter, serving them for breakfast with bread and butter.
If eating blood sausage or black pudding is not what you’re what you’re interested in, there are other uses for the stuff. Each year in greater Manchester, the World Black Pudding Throwing Championship is held. In it, contestants heave six-ounce sections of black pudding at a pile of Yorkshire puddings that have been suspended on a platform 20 feet above the ground. After three tries (underhand tosses, only), whoever knocks down the most Yorkshire puddings (in 2004, the record was seven) wins the prize of £100 (which is donated to charity). The contest appears to be rooted in an incident from the War of the Roses (the medieval civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York), where according to legend, after both armies ran out of ammunition, they resorted to throwing food at each other.
BREAKFAST AND TREATS -
BLOOD PANCAKES (VERIOHUKAISET)
4 dl (deciliter) blood
4 dl milk
4 dl barley flour
1 Tbsp dark syrup
1/2 tsp salt
dash white pepper
butter for frying
“Mix the blood and milk together in a mixing bowl. Add the barley flour whist constantly stirring. Add the egg, syrup and seasonings. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
Brown the blood pancakes on a greased pancake griddle (2 to 3 minutes on each side) and serve with lingonberry jam.”
3 c graham flour
3 c boiling water
¾ c shortening, melted
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground allspice
2 (0.6 oz.) cakes compressed fresh yeast
1 qt chicken or pork blood
6 c medium rye flour
4 c bread flour
In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the graham flour and boiling water until smooth. Stir in melted shortening, salt, cloves, allspice and yeast. Mix in blood until well blended, then stir in rye flour and bread flour 1 cup at a time, and stir until dough no longer sticks to the spoon or the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
When dough has doubled, stir down, and spoon into six 9x5 inch loaf pans. Let rise until dough is doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 300º F. Grease the tops of the loaves. Bake loaves for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until tops are browned and loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
1 liter (l) pig’s blood
1 l milk
1 kg. sugar
100 grams almonds
100 grams hazelnuts
300 grams chocolate
“Put the milk in casserole and add the blood after it has been passed through a sieve. Add the cinnamon and cloves, slowly add the sugar a little at a time to avoid forming lumps. Place the casserole on the stove and heat until it thickens to the consistency of cream, gradually incorporating the chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts (all chopped very fine). Pour into serving dishes and serve cold.”
SOUPS AND STEWS -
As many cultures have varieties of blood sausages, many have blood soups. A staple soup of the Spartans was known as melas zomos, which contained pig’s blood, pork and vinegar among other things. Legend has it that the soup did not taste very good and supposedly, had the Spartans known the greater culinary delights of other locales, they may not have be as willing to give up their lives in the fight.
TIếT CANH (RAW BLOOD SOUP)
This North Vietnamese breakfast dish is a traditional dish made from fresh duck or goose blood and typically served with crushed peanuts on the top. Recently, the Vietnamese government has launched a public awareness campaign to inform consumers of the potential threat that comes along with their breakfast treat – that of avian influenza (H5N1 virus).
PENANG CURRY MEE
A traditional spicy curry soup from Malaysia that includes pig’s blood
1 lb. yellow egg noodles
1 lb. thin rice noodles or rice vermicelli
1½ - 2 lb. shell-on fresh shrimp or prawns (parboiled and allowed to cool)
1½ lb. fresh cockles (blanched and shelled)
3 to 4 pieces dried cuttlefish (reconstituted & sliced) or fresh squid
½ lb. blood cake (cooked pig’s blood), cut into 1inch cubes
½ lb. boneless chicken breast or thigh (cooked and shredded)
1 lb. firm tofu or soy bean curd (fried and cut into ½” slices)
½ lb. deep fried tofu (halved or quartered)
½ c peanut or vegetable oil
3-4 lemongrass stalks, lightly bashed
2 cans coconut milk
6-8 c water
6 c chicken stock
3 Tbsp palm sugar (can substitute dark brown sugar)
15 shallots or small red onions
5-6 Tbsp chili paste (or to taste)
2 Tbsp coriander powder
2 Tbsp lemongrass, chopped
“Using a mortar and pestle or blender, grind shallots, chili paste, coriander powder, lemongrass (chopped) and peppercorns into a paste. Shell the parboiled shrimp and reserve the shells and the shrimp heads. Set the peeled shrimp aside for garnish. Using a blender or food processor, blend the shells and heads with 2 cups of water. Strain well though a fine mesh sieve, add the prawn stock to the chicken stock and mix well to combine. In a stockpot, heat oil, add lemongrass stalks and ground paste, stir-fry until quite toasted and oil starts to ooze from the paste – be careful not to burn! Stir in half of the coconut milk, and half of the prawn/chicken stock, mix well. Add palm sugar and salt to taste. Bring slowly to a boil, then add the rest of the coconut milk, mix well. Add blood cake cubes and fried tofu slices, bring slowly to a boil again, then add the rest of the prawn/chicken stock. Stir well, bring slowly to a boil once again, reduce heat and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes (to avoid curdling). Stir often. Taste soup, add salt or palm sugar if necessary, reduce heat to very low to keep soup hot for serving. To serve – add to each individual serving bowl, bean sprouts, thin rice noodles and yellow egg noodles. Garnish with cooked shrimp, cockles, cuttlefish, shredded chicken and deep fried tofu. Pour piping hot soup over, ladling some fried tofu slices and blood cake cubes.”
This is a stew from the Philippines made with pork blood (derived from dugo, meaning blood). Dinuguan may be served at any time of the day with varied accompaniments.
1 lb. pork, diced
2 Tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/4 lb. pork liver, diced
1/2 c vinegar
2 Tbsp patis (fish sauce)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp MSG (optional)
1½ c broth
1 c frozen pig’s blood
2 tsp sugar
3 hot banana peppers
1/4 tsp oregano (optional)
“Cover pork with water and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from broth and dice. Save 1½ cups of broth. In a 2-quart stainless steel or porcelain saucepan, heat oil and sauté garlic and onions for a few minutes. Add pork, liver, patis, salt and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add vinegar and bring to a boil without stirring. Lower heat and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in blood and sugar; cook until thick, stirring occasionally to avoid curdling. Add hot banana peppers and oregano and cook 5 minutes more. Serve.”
And from: Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, (New York, Oxford University Press Inc., 1999), p. 250.
SAKSANG (PORK BITS WITH HOT SAUCE)
This is a Batak (Indonesian) dish that has some kick to it.
8 shallots, sliced,
4 garlic cloves, sliced,
3 hot red chilies, sliced,
1 tsp pepper,
1 Tbs ground coriander (ketumbar),
a one inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced,
2 Tbs ground andaliman,
3 Tbs corn oil,
4 slices galangal (langkuas/laos),
8 pounds pork variety meats (liver, heart, tongue,
pancreas, and some meat in about equal amounts,
cut into 1-inch cubes),
4 Tbs fresh lime juice,
1 Tbs salt,
4 c pig's blood.
“In a food processor, blend half the shallots, garlic, chilies, pepper, coriander, ginger, and andaliman with ¼ cup of the water to form a smooth paste (bumbu).”
“Heat the oil in a large wok or kettle, add the balance of the above ingredients with the bumbu and laos, and stir-fry over moderate heat for 3 minutes, or until
the aroma rises.”
“In a bowl, mix the meats with the lime juice and salt and stir into the wok or kettle. Cook the mixture, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the remaining 2 ¾ cups water and the blood, mix well, and cook, covered, for 1½ hour, or until the meats are soft and the sauce has thickened and darkened.”
Serve warm with white rice.
This Polish soup, also called czernina, was traditionally served to an unlucky man by the parents of his beloved after his marriage proposal had been rejected.
1 lb. pork bones or duck or goose pieces (back, neck, wings, gizzards)
2 quarts plus 1 Tbsp water
1 or 2 dried mushrooms
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp whole peppercorns or whole allspice
1 c raisins or dried prunes
1 Tbsp flour
1 c duck or goose blood premixed with vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar and/or vinegar (optional)
“Rinse off bones or poultry pieces and place in 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that floats with slotted spoon. Add mushrooms, celery, onion, bay leaves, marjoram, and peppercorns or allspice. Allow to simmer for 1 – 1½ hours. Remove bones, cooked celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns with slotted spoon. Pick meat off bones and return to pot.”
“Add raisins or prunes and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until soft. Mix the flour and the 1 tablespoon of water and add to the pot. Add the blood. Bring soup just to a light simmer. Do not boil after putting in the blood. The soup should be on the sweet and sour side. Add a tablespoon of sugar or vinegar to suit personal taste. Pour over cooked noodles (often served with cooked lazanki - pronounced "wa-ZAN-kee" - which is a basic homemade pasta cut in 1cm squares).”
From: Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, The Polish Country Kitchen Cookbook, (New York, Hippocrene Books, 2002), p. 74.
and from: www.recipecottage.com/polish/czernina01.html
A traditional dish from the Portuguese – sometimes referred to as “jugged chicken”, perhaps because the blood is collected in a jug or dish after the animal is killed.
1 cup uncooked white rice
21/2 cups water
1 cup chicken blood with a dash of vinegar mixed in
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 chicken leg quarters
1 cup wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
“In small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken blood. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender and lightly browned. Add chicken legs to the skillet and brown on both sides. Stir in the hot pepper sauce and wine. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until chicken is no longer pink, and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes. Stir in the blood rice, and cook for a few more minutes before serving.”
and from www.portugal-info.net/gastronomy/meats.htm
This soup is traditionally eaten on Nov. 10 at the Mårten gås dinner on the eve of Saint Martin (of Tours).
40 cl (centiliter) goose blood
5 cl vinegar
2 tsp flour
1.8 liter stock or diluted dripping (can use bullion)
15 cl pureed prunes and/or apricots
5 cl black currant gel
2 Tbsp light brown sugar or syrup
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
10 centiliters red wine
3-4 tsp port wine or sherry
2 tsp cognac
“Whisk together blood, vinegar and flour. Separately, heat stock and all spices for 15 minutes. Slowly add blood mix while vigorously mixing; avoid boiling. Remove soup from stove and strain if necessary. Add sugar, wine and cognac. Adjust to taste. If desirable garnish with boiled neck, wings and boiled plums, apricots and/or a slice of apple.”
And finally, one you won't be able to try at home:
CANARD AU SANG
One of the best-known examples of an animal being cooked in its own blood comes to us from the famed Paris restaurant La Tour d’Argent. The process involves strangling the duck to retain its blood, partially roasting the bird, removing select sections (breast and liver) and then placing the carcass into a press designed to extract the blood and juices from the remaining carcass – hence, “pressed duck” or canard à la presse. After the sauce is mixed, heated, filtered, thickened, it is served over the duck breast. The recipe is for canard au sang is impossible to duplicate at home, basically because duck presses are incredibly rare (even in the most high-end kitchens).
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