Preparation / Directions:
* - okra can be fresh sliced or a 10-ounce package frozen okra sufficiently thawed to separate okra slices can be substituted.
** - seeds removed and finely chopped.
1. Wash salt pork under cold water to rinse off excess salt. Blot dry and cut into small dice.
2. Place in a large, heavy soup pot and cook over low heat until all fat has been rendered. Remove crisped pork dice and drain on paper toweling. Set aside.
3. Blot chicken pieces dry with paper toweling and dredge lightly with flour. Press flour into each piece, then shake off all excess. Heat salt pork to almost smoking. Brown the floured chicken pieces a few at a time in the hot fat. Remove as browned and set aside.
4. Pour off and discard fat. Add butter to soup pot and place over low heat. When melted, add onion and okra and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until onion is soft. Be careful not to let okra scorch.
5. Return chicken to pot and add remaining ingredients except salt and pepper and optional flour. Let simmer for about 1-1/2 hours, adding additional water if needed. Remove from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove skin and bone from chicken pieces and return meat to pot. Reheat if necessary. If desired, thicken mixture with 1-2 tablespoons flour mixed to a paste with about 1/2 cup cold water, and stir over low heat an additional 10-15 minutes.
6. Ladle into large soup bowls over mounds of just-cooked, fluffy white rice. Sprinkle crisped pork dice over each serving.