cook like eric williams (braised beef brisket)

food and wine pairings, guacamole recipeThe chef pairings might just be my husband’s favorite series on the blog to date. We (I) try to make most of the dishes at home, and he knows this. And when I told Jamie what Eric Williams, chef/owner of Momochoprovided, he quickly followed up with a request for immediate trial. That’s because this is perhaps his favorite dish at our favorite Mexican restaurant. And for good reason. Just look at all the ingredients – how can this not be anything short of amazing? And if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it 100 times – if you have yet to try Momocho, you’re truly missing out. What could be better on one of our super hot summer nights than meeting friend at Momocho while sipping on a cucumber margarita… or pitcher!

Braised beef brisket (machaca)

  • 5 lb piece beef brisket
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 20 oz tomato juice
  • 1/4 cups lime juice
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic
  • 2 tbl black pepper
  • 4 tbl ancho powder or 2 whole chiles
  • 1 tbl cinnamon
  • ½ cup coffee, ground (Guatemalan bean preferred)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Spanish onion, rough cut

Season brisket with coffee, ancho powder and salt. Grill-sear beef to caramelize. Cut beef into similar size pieces (3) and put in large braising pan with all remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover brisket. Cover with foil and place in 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours. Discard whole onions and bay leaves. Remove brisket from liquid and pull all meat. Reserve liquid to reheat.


  • 6-8 avocados (calavo-haas avocado)
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  • 1/2 spanish onion diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno minced
  • 2 tbl lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepperyield

Technique: Split avocado in half and remove pit. Using a soup spoon, remove flesh. Combine avocado with garlic and salt in stainless steel or glass mixing bowl. Macerate together using a potato masher. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Amounts may vary slightly depending on size and strength of avocados and jalapeno peppers. Always taste and season with kosher salt if needed.

Variations: Fold in fresh tropical fruits (mango or pineapple), goat cheese, different chiles (chipotle or roasted poblanos) or smoked seafoods (salmon or trout).

Heinen's Logo PMS 350 & 209This post was sponsored by Heinen’s. Carolyn Maldonado, wine consultant for the Pepper Pike store, suggests Au Bon Climat Pinor Noir ($21.99) or Argento Malbec ($11.99). She says both are good summer drinking wines and light enough to enjoy in the heat. She adds that the pinot pairs well with beef, whereas the Malbec is a good choice to complement the chiles and cinnamon.

If you’re enjoying the guacamole as an appetizer, she suggests starting with a Torrontes (Crios – $15.99 – is a good choice) or an Alberino or Vinho Verde. They’re all light, great with chips, and are good starter wines to open up the palate.

As previously posted, I sampled the Au Bon Climat pinot at a wine dinner at The Greenhouse Tavern last week. I wholeheartedly agree with Maldonado – that is a fantastic wine and I highly recommend, and look forward to trying with the chef’s brisket.


  1. Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    That brisket sounds really good, I’m going to have to try it that way sometime. The last few times I’ve braised a brisket I’ve rubbed it in combination of cocoa and chili powder, then used regular Coke as the braising liquid along with some habaneros and garlic cloves. I was on a big chocolate and pepper kick after Chef Symon’s chili and chocolate Iron Chef battle. I even tried recreating his chocolate pasta and ragout dish from that episode. It came out quite good.

  2. Posted July 29, 2010 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    That sounds absolutely delicious! Argento Malbec is the perfect pairing for beef brisket — an excellent suggestion from Carolyn Maldonado. We love Heinen’s! Argento also make a really wonderful Torrontés — unique floral aromas and dry fruit flavors, perfect for the yummy guacamole, or lots of other dishes… especially spicy Asian cuisine.

  3. Leah Caruso
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    LOVE Momocho – hubby and I are there for happy hour every wednesday. we keep kosher, so we only eat the veggie or fish options (yeah, like the mahi mahi taquita is a HUGE sacrifice, but you know we suffer :-)). THANK YOU for posting the Machaca recipe now I can make it at home!! We just love Momocho – it’s our little weekly get-away (we live in University Heights). Our kids love it too.