October 31, 2012
Halloween Special: Cooking Wild Game with Blood
By David Draper
It may sound particularly ghoulish, but using blood as an ingredient is actually quite common. From soups to sausages, there are several dishes—most international in origin—that call for the blood of the animal. Of these, I’ve tasted a couple and have only cooked one: pressed duck. If you’re feeling adventurous, here are a few ways to incorporate blood into your cooking.
Czernina: I first heard of this dish—a soup of duck blood and broth—from Jake Edson, an editor at Krause Publications. He urged me to save the blood of the ducks I shot and promised I would thank him when I tried the traditional Polish dish. I admit I haven’t done so yet, but, Jake, I promise I will someday.
Black Pudding: During the month I tripped around Ireland after college, I ate a full Irish breakfast (like the one above) nearly every day. (It was often the only meal I had, as the rest of my daily budget went to Guinness.) Among the eggs, rashers, beans, and sausage sat a hockey puck made from blood and grains. I won’t say these were delicious, but they did help fortify me for another day of craic.
Boudin Noir: I first encountered boudin (pronounced, BOO-dan), a staple in Cajun cooking, on a fishing trip at Hackberry Lodge down near Lake Charles, Louisiana, though it was of the blanc, (or white) persuasion. The black version, boudin noir, incorporates pig blood and can also be found in certain parts of Cajun country.
Pressed Duck: While I’ve never had the classic French preparation of this dish, called Caneton Tour d'Argent, I do something similar when I roast ducks at home. In place of a duck press, which is a rare and expensive tool, I just press the duck between two sheet pans. The extracted blood and juices then go back in the pan to make a wonderful sauce.
How about you? Are you a fan of blood pudding, or have to been lucky enough to have a real French pressed duck? I’m curious to know if Wild Chef readers regularly use the blood of the game they take in their cooking.