Prep / Total time : 2 hours Seerves 10
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
3 ears of corn—shucked, kernels cut off and cobs reserved
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/3-inch dice
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 serrano chile, minced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over 1 quart heavy cream
**Salt Freshly ground black pepper**
** Snipped chives, for garnish Buttered toast, for serving**
1. In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil with the shrimp shells and corn cobs. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large, heatproof bowl, pressing on the shells to remove as much stock as possible. Wipe out the pot.
2 In a small skillet, toast the celery and fennel seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant and starting to pop, about 45 seconds. Let cool completely. In a spice grinder or mortar, grind or crush the seeds to a powder.
3. In the large pot, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the yellow pepper, onion, celery and chile and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the ground fennel and celery seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Stir the shrimp and crabmeat into the chowder. Cover and let stand until the shrimp turn pink on the outside, about 3 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and corn kernels. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat; immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the shrimp are white throughout, about 3 minutes. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with chives. Serve with buttered toast.
Make ahead the shrimp stock can be made and refrigerated overnight. The finished chowder can be refrigerated overnight; reheat gently before serving.