The origin of this dish is an enthralling rabbit hole into Polish history. Mazur refers to the descendants from the medieval Duchy of Masovia in northeast Poland which was primarily comprised of the Lechitic ethnic tribe which traces its routes back to the foundation of Poland. The Lechites are a distinct ethnic group from the Czech-Slovak group. I’m not going to spiral into an exhausting history of Poland through the medieval ages, least of all because I am no expert on the subject. But, I can extrapolate that Masurian cuisine, like any unique subculture, had its own identifiable traits much in the same notable way that different communities in Italy and China developed their own idiosyncratic regional cuisines.
Scattered through Marja Ochorowicz-Monatowa’s Uniwersalna Ksiazka Kucharska (translated in 1958 as Polish Cookery by Jean Karsavina) are references to Mazur and so one might guess that this is a rather influential subculture in Polish cuisine. Particularly, the famous varieties of mazurek cakes. I have tried a few of these from the book and they can be blisteringly sweet. Perhaps, that then is the defining characteristic of Mazur-style cooking. These carrots are sweetened themselves with a hefty three table spoons of sugar and then simmered in a thickened heavy cream sauce. However, combined with the fresh helping of herbaceous dill, this recipe very much pulls it off.
Beets and sauerkraut are so synonymous with Polish cuisine that it is easy to forget that (like any other global cuisine) it is populate with a host of recipes slightly farther off the beaten path. This is one such recipe and a sheer delight. If you’re looking to add some distinctive Polish flair to your European roast dinners, this is a great side component that would pair nicely with just about anything.
4 cups carrrots, diced
2 cups water
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- Combine milk and water and then simmer carrots inside with 1 tbsp of butter, salt to taste, and the sugar.
- Strain out the carrots but reserve the stock.
- In a separate pot create a roux with 1 tbsp of butter and the flour. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the stock and then stir in the heavy cream.
- Add carrots and dill and heat through. Be as generous with the dill as you dare! I am apt to put in 2-3 times the amount recipes generally call for.