8 ounces thick-cut smoked salmon, roughly diced into small pieces
Heat the butter in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring, until translucent and softened about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and the potatoes. Crush the fennel seeds between your fingers and add them in. Add the bay leaves, dried basil, diced tomatoes, 2 ½ cups of stock, capers and brine. Let the soup gain a rolling simmer, cover and let cook for 8-15 minutes or until the potatoes cook all the way through. The timing may vary as this depends on how small you diced your potatoes.
When the potatoes are fork tender, remove the lid, kick the heat up to medium and stir in the tomato paste, cream cheese, and old bay seasoning. Allow the cream cheese to melt into the soup.
Add the heavy cream and reduce the heat to low, allow the chowder to gently warm through until a light simmer develops. Add the shrimp and smoked salmon and let everything just heat through.
Serve the chowder immediately or as I recommend, chill the chowder for several hours before serving. This will allow the flavors to develop further and will help thicken the chowder further. Rewarm before serving. Use additional stock to thin the chowder to preference. Season with additional salt as desired.