We're working with some 16th century recipes for sauces that call for blood (among other things). However, several members of the group try to keep kosher, and besides, I have no idea where or how one would acquire blood for cooking.

I know I can substitute egg for the protein/thickener aspect, but what about the flavor? What does blood actually taste like (when cooked)? I've had blood sausage, but all I remember about its flavor is the generous quantity of black pepper. Would a red wine and some salt come anywhere close?

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    for what recipe ? it'll help answer the question. You should be able to order pork blood from your local butcher shop. – Max Mar 6 '20 at 19:45
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    Pork blood isn't very good from a Kosher aspect @Max! – GdD Mar 6 '20 at 20:30
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    @Max, blood isn't kosher. (Doesn't matter what species.) That's why I'm primarily looking for a substitution, not ways to get it. – JPmiaou Mar 6 '20 at 21:33
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    yeah but part of the question is " I have no idea where or how one would acquire blood for cooking." – Max Mar 6 '20 at 23:09

Depending on the animal, blood would impart a somewhat metallic taste and a certain “richness” - not really the umami-meatiness of red meat, more like the earthiness of liver - with a slight sweetness.

The flavor profile will be quite different depending on the animal, with pork being more neutral than the more intense and metallic beef.

A substitute would depend on the recipe. But the acidity of red wine is very much not what blood would contribute to a dish. If the binding properties are to be ignored, think “beets plus sautéed mushrooms”, as a very, very vague flavor approximation. But if your sauce is rich per se, you can probably just skip the blood without doing much culinary harm.

  • Most of the recipes call for both vinegar and (white) wine in addition to the blood, so I'm not worried about the acidity of the wine; I'm more wondering if the "liquefied barrel" flavor of red wine would approximate the metallic flavor of blood. – JPmiaou Mar 6 '20 at 21:42
  • @JPmiaou “liquefied barrel” as in the tannins? Probably not. – Stephie Mar 6 '20 at 21:56
  • The recipes mostly do not specify a species for the blood, and they made blood-based sauces for everything from chicken and rabbit to beef and game. But hmm: there's one that says that if there's no blood available, then use walnuts. Opinions? – JPmiaou Mar 6 '20 at 21:57
  • In old recipes, you would (as a rule of thumb) use the blood of the animal at hand. Walnuts (like other nuts) can act as thickeners, that’s standard procedure in Indian (predominantly vegetarian) cuisine, and they would have been easy enough to obtain. – Stephie Mar 6 '20 at 21:59
  • @Stephie you call out liver in flavor profile. It is not a profile I enjoy so I have not experimented there, but I agree that the profile can be similar. That makes me wonder is an amount of ground liver added would approach the taste pattern? One would then still need to examine kosher rules for the dish. – dlb Mar 7 '20 at 16:14

How about chicken liver-? The texture of raw chopped chicken liver could mimic blood when it is cooked In an old- 70 yr old recipe from mapuca in goa,goat curry cooked in spices ground in vinegar ,used chicken liver- not minced but chopped . An imitation of sorpotel.

  • That’s a really good idea. Grinding raw liver produces a lot of liquid which isn’t actually blood but is somewhat similar in taste and likely behaves the same texturally when cooked. – Sneftel Dec 7 '20 at 13:46
  • Do you have any experience on how the (very strong) flavor of liver compares to that of blood? (This is purely curiosity, because liver is no more kosher than blood, so it will not suit my purposes in any case.) – JPmiaou Dec 9 '20 at 17:29
  • @JPmiaou it's possible to make liver kosher, but may be challenging/expensive to find; also, since the kashering process is intended to draw out as much blood as possible, it may well eliminate the flavor profile of interest! – Erica Dec 11 '20 at 2:57

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