Dinuguan : Filipino Blood Stew

Dinuguan, affectionately (and surreptitiously..) referred to as “chocolate meat” in its homeland, is a unique pork stew found commonly throughout the Philippines. It’s quite traditional, popular fare amongst locals; many variations exist across the archipelago, yet the dish can be difficult to find outside of the country. Even restaurants catering to large Filipino communities tend to avoid it, likely due to cultural stigma surrounding the main ingredient. Fortunately, this delicious, bloody concoction lends itself well to recreation at home.

Rich, savory, smooth, and with a kick, dinuguan is both comforting and surprisingly easy to prepare. It makes for quite an interesting, impressive meal that can easily be catered to specific tastes. Pork shoulder and offal are often used, both together and in separate versions – they give hearty substance to a remarkable, yet simple gravy made with pig’s blood spiked with the tang and spice of vinegar and chilies. Despite the tongue-in-cheek misnomer, no chocolate was harmed (involved) in the process, yet that might be an interesting addition to the mix.. (think dark chocolate in mole, though that’s a different beast altogether.. 😆)

Like other gastronauts who’ve attempted to learn about this dish, I had quite a bit of difficulty trying to trace its culinary journey. History and accounts of the origins of dinuguan are quite vague, unfortunately. Was it introduced with pork by occupying Spaniards (fritada)? Or is it a much older dish that was simply adapted to new situations and ingredients? One thing is certain, however, dinuguan is a beautiful effort borne out of the necessity that no part of an animal go to waste. Despite being simple, it’s nose-to-tail cooking at its finest – a good jumping off point for those interested in introducing blood into their culinary adventures.
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Civet de Boeuf : Blood Bourguignon

Today, we’re back with another hearty, filling winter dish : Civet de Boeuf. As the name indicates, this recipe comes from France and is part of a long tradition of blood cooking. A civet, traditionally, is a stew of a game animal thickened with the animal’s blood. The most iconic of which is the “Civet de Lièvre” (jugged hare); but it’s also often prepared with roe deer and boar. (Civet de Chevreuil ou de Sanglier). Here, however, we’re going to use braising beef and pig’s blood. Ideally, you’d use beef blood for beef, but I’ve not been able to source any at this time.
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Cabidela: A traditional Portuguese Delicacy

It’s been a while! After my old traditional butcher shop closed down, and the farm I used to order from stopped delivering downtown, I had to find a new provider for pig’s blood. And let me tell you, summertime was not the best time for it! High temperatures make it difficult to transport blood in the proper conditions. After a lot of fruitless inquiries, and with the coming of Autumn, I finally found that I was looking for. I met a great couple at the local farmer’s market who raise free range, organic forest pigs, and they kindly listened to my request. Here I am, a week later, with my order of 6 liters of fresh, free range pig’s blood.

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Soondae Bloody Soondae : Korean Blood Sausage (순대)

What is soondae? The word looks an awful lot like sundae (it’s even commonly transliterated this way), but I can guarantee that most people would be fairly shocked to receive a plate full of plump sausages filled with blood and pig’s snout, rather than the sweet, frozen treat of their dreams. Soondae is a traditional Korean blood sausage similar to black pudding, though the starchy filler used is glutinous (sweet) rice. It’s a true sausage in that it is stuffed inside a casing much like morcilla or boudin noir. The texture is amazing, folks. It’s light, chewy, bouncy – quite reminiscent of mochi due to the sticky rice and pork snouts. It’s something you can become addicted to far too easily..

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Buckwheat blood dumplings stuffed with mushrooms

 

I’ll admit it, this is a weird recipe, somewhere between ravioli, russian pelmeni and gyoza. Just…With extra blood. They are a bit time consuming to make but definitely worth the effort as they only take a couple minutes to fry. Make a big batch (double or triple the amounts in this post) and keep them in the freezer for a quick lunch.

They go wonderfully well with steamed vegetables, parsnip or celery root puree, or simply some rice.

Buckwheat and blood dumplings with mushroom filling and steamed broccoli. Served with a parsley sour cream sauce.

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Blood Cocoa Sponge Cake

The original recipe was found on this post by Nordic Food Lab, among a couple other brilliant blood-based dishes, be sure to check them out. For a while, this was my go to site for whenever I had extra blood left in the fridge and needed to do some cooking.

After experimenting with this recipe quite a bit, I propose here my own take on it. Make sure to check the Notes and Tips at the end of the post, because this cake is surprisingly difficult to get right.

This particular cake ended up a bit dense and lacking the “sponge”. Avoid making the same mistake by checking the tips at the end of the post.

If you’d rather settle for a fast, foolproof option, try out our sweet blood pancakes.
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