Growing up in Berkeley, Calif., Mexican food was Chef Jonathan Waxman's ultimate comfort food. Blending French cooking techniques, Mexican accents and a love for Italian food (he's currently manning the kitchen at the renowned Barbuto in Manhattan’s West Village), the Top Chef Master contestant constantly whips up inventive and memorable dishes.
One example? Pulled beef brisket tacos flavored with jicama, habanero, charred onions and an unexpected sweet crunch—pomegranate seeds. So where did his love of cooking first come from? We asked the chef and then salsa-ed our way into the kitchen to whip up his take on tacos (currently on the menu at Rosa Mexicano, where he serves as culinary advisor).
"I remember one clear 'a-ha!' moment," says Waxman. "In 1971, I took a cooking class from Richard Grausman. He made cooking seem exciting, and very elegant. I was enthralled. I'll never forget that he made beef bourguignon and chocolate mousse—I loved every minute of it. He made me really want to get out there and cook."
Now it's your turn! Follow the recipe and our step-by-step photos below.
Beef Brisket Tacos
Makes 16 tacos
What You’ll Need
16 ounces of cold, leftover brisket
1 cup of leftover beef sauce from brisket (or use chicken or beef stock)
2 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup of julienned jicama
1 habanero (stemmed, seeded and minced)
1/2-cup pomegranate seeds
1 lemon (juiced)
1 orange (juiced)
2 ounces olive oil
16 sprigs of cilantro
16 (4 inch) corn tortillas
What You’ll Do:
STEP 1: Slice briskets while cold into thin strips, keep cold.
STEP 2: In a saucepan heat left over sauce, add carrots, cook for 5 minutes.
STEP 3: In a black iron skillet, heat to medium high, add the onions with no fat and char gently until wilted. Add the onions to sauce.
STEP 4: Add the habanero chili. Cook for 20 minutes; keep warm. Sauce should be quite reduced, if not reduced enough cook a bit more.
STEP 5: In a bowl toss the jicama, pomegranate seeds, the citrus juices, olive oil, and add sea salt.
STEP 6: In the black iron skillet add the remaining oil, and when hot, sear the brisket strips, in batches. Add the strips to sauce.
STEP 7: Heat the tortillas, spoon in the carrot, onion brisket mixture, and top with jicama-citrus. Garnish with cilantro.
Disclosure: I did not receive any products nor was paid for this post. I was provided info from the PR firm to share. Thanks to A Bullseye View. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.