The best Yakamein venison recipe


YAKAMEIN (often pronounced “yaka-mee”) is a New Orleans cult specialty that’s one part ramen bowl, one part pho, and 50 parts New Orleans: a heady combination of spaghetti noodles, brothy broth with intense spices, eggs and chunks of meat that sprinkle. The version you get at Big Easy corner stores—usually served in a Styrofoam cup—tends to feature pot roast beef, but slow braising and generous seasonings (not to mention a deer camp-friendly ingredient list) of make the yakame a natural tool for wild game. We call for a venison roast – the top is particularly lovely for this – but I’ve made it with stew meat and other cuts as well as wild boar. Oh, and a bonus point: New Orleans lore says yakamein cures hangovers.

Ingredients

2 to 3 pounds roast venison, leg or shoulder
4 cups of unsalted or low-salt broth
1 tablespoon. Cajun/Creole seasoning (preferably Tony Chachere’s)
16 oz. spaghetti
1 tablespoon. vegetable oil or any other neutral oil
6 large eggs
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon. Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons. chili-garlic sauce or ketchup
1 bunch onion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
Louisiana Hot Sauce, for serving

hands separating the meat
Once the slow-cooked venison has cooled slightly, shred the meat and divide into six bowls. Christopher Testani; food and prop styling by Roscoe Betsill

direction

1. Place the venison roast in a medium saucepan and add the beef stock. Add cold water to just cover roast, about 4 to 6 cups, then stir in Cajun/Creole seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cook, partially covered, until the meat is almost tender, about 3 hours. From time to time, use a large spoon to skim the foam off the top.

2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Without reducing the heat, use tongs or a pasta spoon to transfer the noodles to a bowl (reserving the boiling water), then toss with vegetable oil to prevent the noodles from sticking as they cool.

3. Carefully drop the eggs into the still-boiling pasta water and set a kitchen timer for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Prepare an ice water bath. When the eggs are ready, put them in ice water to cool them.

4. When the meat is done, transfer it to a bowl, then carefully strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. (You can skip this straining if you prefer, but it makes for a cleaner, pureer soup.) Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and chili-garlic sauce or ketchup to the stock. Taste for spices; it should be richly spiced and have a great savory taste.

5. To serve, return the stock to a simmer. Peel the eggs and cut them lengthwise. Finely chop the venison and divide into six large bowls. Add some spaghetti to the bowl (you’ll probably have leftovers), along with two halves of soft-boiled eggs for each bowl, then pour into the hot stock. Give it a minute or two to heat everything up. Garnish each bowl with scallions and a few drops of hot sauce. Serves 6

This story originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of Field & Stream. Read more F&S+ stories.





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