Potato Leek Soup with Pancetta "Croutons"
"I'm good like salt pork in a pot of potatoes."
My first place "as an adult" on my own, was a small studio apartment in a duplexish house. I say duplexish because the owner did a terrible job at trying to turn an old house into 4 apartments.
Terrible, like when you open your closet and it's shared with the other tenants closet.
Anyway, the house was in what people would call a "sketchy" part of town. I use that word reluctantly, because so often the 'sketchiness" of an area is determined by the ethnicity of its inhabitants. The people that lived around me were colorful, in both personality and life. One in particular, Ms. Kat or Cat, I'm unsure on the spelling, walked up and down the streets. She'd always carry a sequin bag and an arrogant sashay with each step. She talked to herself and seemed to always be in some sort of argument with an invisible instigator. One day I stopped in the store around the corner from my apartment and ran right into her. Literally.
She gave me an ugly look and stomped off talking about "folks act like they can't see". I just rolled my eyes and picked up what I'd dropped. As I was leaving the store she walked into me, this time it was on purpose. I told her to watch where she was going, she told me to apologize for bumping into her in the store. We had a mild stand off, drawing onlookers.
"I apologized in the store, so be good with that!" or something like that, is what I told her.
"Girl, I'm good like salt pork in a pot of potatoes. Now you be good with THAT!" She said to me while rolling her neck and snapping her fingers. Then walked off leaving a flurry of dust flapping behind her.
That was one of the best "sayins" I've ever heard, so I just starting laughing.
We never had any other interactions after that. Every once in a while I'd see Ms. Kat/Cat walking up the street. Sometimes she'd acknowledge me by rolling her eyes and snapping her neck. Again, I'd laugh each time because she was a ridiculous woman with great taste in food.
Fatback (or streak of lean) is salt pork, I'm assuming that is what she meant. We used to pick up a hunk of salt pork from the local Piggly Wiggly and put it in any pot, normally a pot of greens. You can also just slice it, fry it and eat it like bacon. Although I would not encourage this as an everyday occurrence.
In the cookbook, Cleora's Kitchen, Cleora Butler gives a recipe for Mother's Potatoes with Salt Pork. It calls for small new potatoes, ¾ pounds of streak of lean salt pork, and spring onions. She also starts the directions off by telling the reader to "dig up enough small new potatoes to make 3 quarts." Cleora's method of slicing the salt pork into small bits and frying it, inspired me to do the same with some pancetta. Then crumbled the bits over the soup. So now my soup is good like salt pork in a pot of potatoes and yea, I'm good with that!
Potato Soup w/ Crispy Pancetta Croutons Ingredients: 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 leeks, chopped 4 cups chicken broth 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 tsps kosher salt 2 cups heavy cream 4 oz of diced pancetta Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: In a large stock pot melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks and cook until they are softened. Pour in the broth and add the potatoes. Allow potatoes to boil in the broth until tender, about 15- 20 minutes. Stir in cream and salt. While potatoes are boiling, fry up the pancetta in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes per side until browned. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel to remove excess grease. Set aside. Once the potatoes are nice and tender, you'll need to puree the potato mixture. I allowed the mixture to cool first and then used an immersion blender to blend the mixture right in the pot. If using a traditional blender, still allow the mixture to cool slightly before working in batches to blend the potatoes into a soup. Divide among 4 bowls and top each with the fried pancetta. Serve soup while warm.