Recipe Finder: Mock Czarnina

M. Veronica Mack from Baltimore was looking for a recipe for making Czarnina, a traditional Polish duck soup, like the one her mother used to make when she was young. Like most Czarina recipes her mother's not only called for a live duck but the duck blood as well. Mack said that these days it's difficult to find a source for live duck and almost impossible to find duck blood. She was hoping someone would be able to share a recipe for the soup that had a satisfactory substitute for the blood.

Phil Wujek from Timonium sent in a recipe for a mock Czarnina soup that he said his Aunt Sophia Cudnik came up with some years ago when the sale of raw blood was banned. He can remember as a child being sent to the poultry store on Conkling Street in Southeast Baltimore with instructions to buy "a good sized duck, and don't forget to tell them you want the blood … and be careful carrying it home!"

Out of necessity, as finding live ducks in the city became more and more difficult, his aunt came up with a version of the soup that does not use live duck or duck blood. Wujek said while the taste may not be exactly the same, it comes pretty close, and, "The best part is that it is much easier to make, less expensive, and perhaps most importantly, doesn't carry the stigma of eating blood soup."

This sweet and sour soup is best served with thick noodles known as Kluski or potato dumplings.


Kira Eyring from Baltimore is looking for a recipe for Oyster Pie. Her husband's grandmother used to make it, but they cannot find her recipe anywhere. It was like an oyster stew with potatoes, carrot and peas baked in a deep-dish pie plate with a crust on the bottom and top.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278 or email If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Mock Czarnina (Polish duck soup)

Makes: 10 quarts

5 quarts water

2 pounds spare ribs or turkey legs

1 large onion, peeled, pricked with a fork, and left whole

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 28-ounce jars apple butter

1 1/2 cups flour

14 ounces. white vinegar

1 pound pitted prunes

In a large soup pot, combine spare ribs or turkey legs, 5 quarts of water, onion and celery. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until meat begins to fall off the bone. This will take at least an hour. While simmering, periodically skim off any fat that rises to the top. When meat is cooked and falling off the bone, strain liquid into a clean pot. Remove meat from bones and cut up into cubes or shred, set aside with the cooked vegetables.

In a large bowl, combine the apple butter, vinegar and flour. Mix well to dissolve the flour. Add this mixture to the hot soup liquid a little at a time. Then add in the prunes and the reserved meat and vegetables. Add sufficient water to bring the total volume to 10 quarts of liquid. Bring to a slow boil again, and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to thicken soup.

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