Friday, March 26, 2010

Rabo Encendido - Cuban Oxtail Stew

Oh the tale of the oxtail. The first time I made it for my husband, he turned his nose up at it and refused to eat it. The next time, I took the meat off the bone and served it to him. He eats oxtail now.

I can't believe I'm saying this but ... thank goodness for Walmart. Yes I can find oxtail at Walmart. I'm not sure who buys it because most Americans I've met up here have never had it, and like my husband, stick their noses in the air about it, so I say "Good, more for me!" For those of you who are familiar with this dish and for those of you who are daring enough to try it, here is my version of Rabo Encendido which has won it's accolades... at least in my family.

4 lbs of oxtail (you're going to need about 1 lb of oxtail per serving because most of the weight is bone)
olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (red or yellow, whatever you have in the kitchen)
8-10 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 cups beef stock (read below)
1 - 2 cups red wine
2 - 3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp capers (you can sustitue with green olives)
1 bay leaf 
a few liberal dashes of hot sauce
a dash of soy sauce
a dash of Worchestershire sauce 
salt and pepper to taste

The trick to make oxtail is to let the oxtail simmer until it becomes tender. This is where the crock pot comes in handy. In the morning I put the frozen oxtail in the crockpot, poured water to cover it, put the lid on and set it on low. (If you don't have a crock pot then you'll have to put it in a pot with water to cover, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 3-4 hours until tender, coming back to pour more water as it evaporates... believe me it evaporates even when it's covered.) By late afternoon my oxtail was tender.  I removed the fat from the meat, and refrigerated it overnight.  Friday morning I removed the extra fat that had risen and hardened at the top. Okay now, we have relatively lean oxtail sitting in a beef stock. (The cold stock will be gelatenous - that's okay).

Warm enough olive oil on medium heat to saute the onions until limp. Add the garlic and the oxtail. Saute for a bit and then add all other ingredients. Let simmer on very low heat uncovered for about 40 minutes. Serve with rice, and a side of tostones. (I'm going to get around to plantians in another post. I promise!)

you can click on the above photo for a better view


  1. i am going to try your receipe tonight i'll tell you how it goes. my husband is cuban and hates ox tail(bad experience as a child)and it one of my favorite dishes but, like you i'm hoping to trick him into it lol

  2. I love Oxtail, I live in a more Hispanic community so we value this cut of meat, it is also very expensive.

    I make it different but I'm sure your's is delicious too.

    (I brown the oxtails, make a sofrito (you know aji, ajo, cebolla, then add 1 cup tomato sauce or more, the red wine, enough water to barely cover and simmer with teaspoon cumin, black pepper corns, bay leaves ,and salt)

  3. Oh, it sounds delicious. I cook Oxtail too- I'm Mexican American- I learned the recipe from my mother and grandmother. I thought we were the only ones who ate this LOL. My spouse and I went to the Keys in 2004- and we discovered this little hole-in-the-wall place on Key Largo (next the liquor store) who had the BEST Oxtail stew. I think in the week that we vacationed there, we ate there ate least 4-5 times! LOL. I usually cook mine in the crockpot or in the pot on the stove- definitely be careful to refill the water. Will love to try your recipe!