Rustic Shrimp Chowder

  • ¼ cup real bacon bits (about 4 slices)
  • 30 oz bag of cubed frozen hash browns OR 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp Old Bay (or your favorite seafood seasoning)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth (one 32-oz box)
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups precooked small frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Place bacon, oil and potatoes into slow cooker and add a generous pinch of salt, stirring to coat potatoes. Sauté garlic, celery and onion in butter with seasonings over medium heat until softened (about 10 minutes). Stir in flour, one tablespoon at a time, until coated; add 3 cups of broth and increase heat to medium-high, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pan. Pour into slow cooker and stir all ingredients well. Pour remaining cup of broth into pan and stir to deglaze; pour into pot. Cover and cook on low all day or on high for 3-4 hours (or until potatoes are done); stir in half-and-half, cheese, corn, shrimp and additional seasonings to taste, and continue heating until desired temperature (20-30 minutes).  Add hot sauce to taste right before serving if desired.

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(I also made this successfully with tuna, during the time that my husband thought he was allergic to shellfish after getting sick on our honeymoon).

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