Sanguinaccio dolce is a bloody good treat

I remember eating Czernina years ago in Polish restaurants. Czernina, also called Czarnina, is a sweet and sour duck blood soup. It is made with duck blood, poultry broth, vinegar, sugar, and other flavoring ingredients.

I also eat blood sausage when I can find it. I like the one made with rice.

One of the ultimate blood treats is sanguinaccio dolce. Sanguinaccio dolce is an Italian sweet blood pudding made from pork blood and chocolate.

You read that right, a sweet dessert made from the blood of a pig.

Unlike our wasteful so-called modern society, there was a time when every part of a slaughtered animal was used. Snout to tail cooking is gaining in popularity in the restaurant world. More chefs are utilizing and serving the tasty bits. This is a good thing.

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Pork blood and chocolate. What’s not to like? (Peter V. Bella)

Pork blood and chocolate. What’s not to like?

Sanguinaccio dolce, along with other blood recipes, derives from pig festivals, held in the fall, when villagers slaughtered their pigs. The blood, still warm, was used to make sausage and other foodstuffs, including this sweet treat.

In some regions of Italy, Sanguinaccio dolce is associated with Mardis Gras and is prepared on the day before Ash Wednesday.

Sanguinaccio dolce is a very rich pudding. It is sweet and salty with a slight metallic flavor. The saltiness and metallic taste are from the blood.

Served warm, it resembles a thick hot chocolate.  Allowed to set, it is  like a traditional thick pudding.

Warm or cold, the dolce is served with hard cookies to dip, and coffee.

In some regions sanguinaccio dolce is made thicker, allowed to set, and shaped into a log or cake. Some recipes call for the addition of dried fruits, nuts, and flavored syrups.

You can use sanguinaccio dolce to make gelato. Perfect for those hot sunny days to come.

The easiest places to find pork blood are Asian markets. Some Polish delis and butcher shops may sell frozen pork blood. Call around to save time. I bought mine on Argyle Street in Uptown.

1- pint of whole milk

1- pint of fresh or frozen (thawed) pig’s blood (Unless you live near a slaughter house, you will only find commercial pig or frozen pig blood. It is coagulated. Place it in a blender or food processor before using. If you have an immersion blender you can process the blood on low speed as it melts in the double boiler)

12 oz. – dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), broken into small pieces

1 pound- sugar

1/2 tsp- vanilla

Cinnamon, optional (Five spice powder can be substituted for a range of spice flavor)

Grated rind of 1 orange, optional (Orange and chocolate marry very well)

Though not traditional, you can add a bit of heat with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Chocolate and hot pepper go very well together.

In a double boiler, heat water until simmering. On medium heat, heat the milk and and sugar together until sugar is dissolved, stirring. (A double boiler can be made using a large pot, filled about one third and a mixing bowl inserted in the top. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. See Illustration.)

Stir in vanilla.

Add the dark chocolate and stir until it is melted.

Add the pig blood and stir. If blood is coagulated, use an immersion blender on low to help dissolve it.

Stir constantly. As the dolce cooks, the mixture will begin to thicken like a custard.

Add the cinnamon and orange rind (if using) and mix in thoroughly.

Cook until the mixture has a custard or pudding like consistency.

Remove from heat. Serve immediately or cool, letting it set up into a pudding.


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