Shortly after relocating to the continental United States, I found myself having the desire to indulge in authentic Caribbean food. However, this desire was met with some challenges because many of the ingredients and items we often used were not readily available. Yes, I had no difficulty finding the fresh onions, green pepper, celery, and thyme that most Caribbean dishes cannot go without, but when it came to the seasoning for the meat, that seemed to pose a problem.
As the years went by, I was introduced to places like the various farmer's markets in the area and I was able to find a few of the seasonings and spices that was often used in the islands when cooking. Now, my dishes had the ground seasonings like garlic powder and the traditional complete seasoning (which is a blend of ground onion, garlic, salt, pepper). However, something still appeared to be missing in the food. Although these well prepared dishes were quite tasty, something was still missing; the taste that I was longing for was still not achieved.
One day, I came across a cast iron pot. Just seeing the pot reminded me of the islands. I now reminisced on how good the food seemed to taste when they were prepared in these pots. Growing up in the islands, the cooking with the cast iron pot usually occurred outdoor. I could remember, whenever I saw that pot come out the cupboard, I knew that the meal that day was going to be delicious. Something about those cast iron pots, it's almost like the pots themselves were needed to give that food the flavor.
So I decided to invest in the cast iron Dutch oven and went home to prepare one of my favorite island meals. Finally, that authentic taste that I was searching for suddenly seemed to have reappeared. With every bite you tasted the herbs and seasoning and the authentic flavor of the islands. Who would have thought that the Dutch oven (also known as the dutchy) would have made the difference in the flavor?
Truth be told, if you are trying to "lock in" the flavor and the seasoning that we often use in our Caribbean dishes, and you hoping to bring out that true "back home" authentic Caribbean flavor, I suggest, you start by examining the types of pots you are using. Cast iron cookware is a key ingredient!