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Bacon, shrimp and Old Bay are the secrets to big flavor in Rach's thick and creamy Cajun Shrimp Chowder.
Rach's Tip: To make fortified stock, toast shrimp tails and shells if you are processing shrimp yourself and deveining. Add 1 quart chicken stock or bone broth and 2 cups water, simmer to combine flavor of shrimp shells. Strain to use in recipe.
Heat a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with oil, 1 turn of the pan, add bacon and render, then remove when crisp. Add shrimp and season with Old Bay, lightly brown 3 minutes, then remove to bacon plate. Add celery, onions, peppers and potatoes, then season with salt, pepper, and bay leaf, partially cover and soften 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour, corn, garlic and thyme, stir to combine. Add hot sauce, Worcestershire and stock, bring to boil and reduce heat a bit, then keep at low boil 5 minutes. Add cream, combine, add back shrimp and bacon, heat through, then remove bay. Serve chowder in bowls and top with scallions or chives and crackers of choice.