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Yakamein is a popular soup in New Orleans.  It is easy to make and tasty.  It reminds me of an Americanized version of Pho (although it clearly is derived from a Chinese vs. a Vietnamese soup).  Like Pho, people can customize their broth to make it saltier, sweeter, and/or spicier.  This version serves 4 and is adapted from a recipe in the New York Times.  It will take about an hour and a half.

2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chacere’s)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 lb. chuck roast, thinly sliced

4 Tbs. neutral vegetable oil, divided

1 cup chopped celery (about 2 ribs)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 medium green pepper, diced

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. smoked paprika

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. ground ginger

4 cups unsalted beef stock

2 Tbs. ketchup

2 Tbs. soy sauce

8 oz. spaghetti

4 hardboiled eggs, cooled and peeled

½ cup sliced scallions

For serving condiments of choice such as Ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, Hoisin sauce, etc.

Put the sliced beef in a bowl with the Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, and garlic.  Marinade for at least 30 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, heat 3 Tbs. of oil.  Sauté the celery, onion, and bell pepper over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and cayenne and cook another minute.  Remove the cooked vegetables to a bowl.

Add the remaining Tbs. of oil to the pan and sauté the meat in batches until nicely browned, about 4 minutes on a side.

Add the vegetables back into the pot with the beef and add the stock, ketchup and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the beef is tender, about 40-60 minutes.  Check the soup for seasoning.

Cook the spaghetti in salted water. 

Set out 4 large soup bowls.  Divide the spaghetti among the bowls, and then portion out the beef soup.  Top with the scallions.  Have condiments available so people can make it sweeter, saltier, or spicier as they like, just as they would to a bowl of Pho.


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