Cajun Shrimp Chowder
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled (reserve shells and heads, if you have them, for stock)
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (a mixture of spices available in the spice section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shrimp stock or bottled clam juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large leek, white part only, cut into half rounds (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery, about 3/4 cup diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, about 3/4 cup diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Scallions, chopped (for garnish)
  1. Toss shrimp with 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Add shrimp and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, turn over and cook another minute. The shrimp should be opaque, but not quite cooked through. Remove from heat.
  3. Bring shrimp stock or clam juice to a boil in a small saucepan, add shrimp shells (and heads if you have them), reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out shrimp shells and heads, and discard.
  4. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks, celery and bell pepper, and sweat for five minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, for 3 minutes. Whisk in clam juice; be careful, it will thicken quickly.
  5. Stir in half and half and tomato paste. Bring to a light simmer, add shrimp and simmer 1 more minute.
  6. Serve garnished with chopped scallions.