Party Time: Hannibal Finale Dinner

It's a rare group of people who will sit down to a meal themed after a cannibal.  I consider myself lucky that I've managed to find friends who will rise to such an occasion with gusto.

I've been enjoying "Hannibal", Bryan Fuller's take on the everybody's favorite suave serial killer, since it premiered last year on NBC.  If you're not watching, you're missing out.  The show is gorgeous, suspenseful, with a dark gruesomeness that belies a surprising sense of humor (if you like cannibal puns, this is the show for you!).

 Perhaps one of my favorite elements of the show is the food.  It probably seems a strange thing to
comment on, but Fuller and food stylist Janice Poon have done an amazing job making every meal Hannibal prepares look so good, you can't help but want to eat it, despite knowing what the secret ingredient is.  In fact, between Hannibal's cooking and the artfully arranged formations of dead bodies left behind by some of the most creative and crafty killers on tv, the entire show seems designed to make the grotesque into something so beautiful you can't look away.

After every episode, I head over to Janice's blog to read about her process for making the meal of the week.  She talks about the recipes, the behind the scenes shenanigans, and the craft of making food look good.  It's a fascinating look at what goes in to making a show like this.  Go. Read.  Now.

I thought about using one of Janice's recipes for our big finale dinner party, but I'd had my eye on a recipe from a new cookbook I had, Jennifer McLagan's Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal . The recipe was for Blood Chocolate Ice Cream, and yes, it uses real blood. Pork blood, to be precise.

You see, back when people were a little less wasteful with their meat, the Italians would use up all the pork blood they had during slaughtering season by making Sanguinaccio - a sweet blood pudding that's rich and chocolatey. Put that sanguinaccio in an ice cream maker and you've got a surprisingly delicious dessert with a secret ingredient that no one will guess. Until you tell them. Because what's the fun of making blood ice cream if you don't tell people that's what they're eating?

It made a perfect capper to our Hannibal meal, which included prosciutto quiche cups, steak and kidney pie (complete with a puff pastry mask just like the one pictured on the show), and roasted beet salad.

You can find the recipe for the Blood Ice Cream here, and to make it seem a little less scary I took some step by step photos of the cooking process.

This recipe made just enough for 2 small scoops for each of us - perfect for 4 people.  Bon appetit, fellow Fannibals!