Preparation / Directions:
NOTE: Fresh jalapenos are preferred; if you have to use pickled ones, rinse as much vinegar from them as possible.
Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and celery; sauté about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapenos, bay leaves, ground peppers and garlic; stir well. Continue cooking about 3 minutes, stirring often and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in the stock, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until flavors are married, about 20 minutes, stirring often and scraping pan bottom as needed. (If mixture scorches, quit stirring and pour mixture into a clean pot, leaving the scorched ingredients in the first pan.) Add the shrimp to the hot (or reheated) sauce and stir.
Turn heat up to high, cover pan, and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, heat the serving plates in a 250F oven.) Stir, remove bay leaves, and serve immediately.
To serve, mound 1/2 cup rice in the center of each heated serving plate; then pour about 1/2 cup sauce around the rice and arrange about 8 shrimp on top of the sauce.
LAGNIAPPE: "Piquant" to a Cajun means "it's hot and 'hurts like a sticker in your tongue.'" If you want less "piquant," reduce the jalapeno peppers by half. Sauce Piquant is enjoyed with such gusto in Louisiana that the town of Raceland has a Sauce Piquant Festival every year dedicated to nothing but fish, meat, fowl and seafood made with variations of this sauce.
From Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kit