I found this recipe by Maurice Moore-Betty in a late-1970s issue of House & Garden while I was still in college, and I've been making it ever since. Moore-Betty was an Irish-born author, cooking teacher, and all-around lovely man who advised many a prominent Manhattan hostess. This dish is essentially shrimp Creole with the addition of curry powder, which elevates it by a surprising degree. Serve over rice, accompanied by a simple green salad.
1. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery, and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, cayenne, basil, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, and add the curry powder. Turn down the heat, and simmer the mixture, covered, for about 25 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little seafood stock or water. Add the shrimp and simmer for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove the bay leaves.
3. Serve over cooked white rice. (I love Uncle Ben's Original Converted rice.)
*Recipe adapted from Julia Reed's South