Rabo Encendido aka Oxtail Stew is a very special dish. To start, I lose all sense whenever I’m making this because of the mere excitement! It’s a popular comfort food that automatically means you’re having seconds, thirds, and fourths. (No judgement!) This dish takes HOURS to make but the reward is well worth it because you’re left with succulent, fall of the bone meat that’s to die for! My favorite part is licking my fingers and drowning the rice and boiled platanos in the sauce!
Before I share my recipes for Oxtail Stew | Rabo Encendido, there are a few things you need to know.
- Fatty Oxtails: Oxtails are naturally fatty which half of the reason this meat is so tender, juicy, and delicious. However, some oxtails are fattier than others. Make sure to grab oxtails that have had the fat trimmed, otherwise trimming it yourself will not be so fun
- Frozen vs. Fresh: You can buy oxtails either frozen or fresh. If possible, I always go for fresh oxtails. They’re a bit pricier but the quality is unparalleled. The color is rich and taste is impeccable
- Marinade: I always suggest that you let meats marinade for at least an hour. With Oxtails, you want to marinate them for at least 4 HOURS! Better yet is if you marinate them overnight or for a few days. I typically marinade Oxtails for two days.
- Cook Time: Oxtails take a while to cooks and it’s best not to rush them. Let them stew for 2-3 hours until they’re done. Oxtails have tough membranes that you want to soften to get that delicious succulent meat at the end.
- Spiciness: Rabo is traditionally a spicy dish that you can cook to your own taste if you even choose to make it spicy. My personal pepper of choice is a Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper but you can use whichever pepper you like including Jalapeno peppers and Red Pepper Flakes.
- 2 lbs Oxtails
- 1 Small Onion minced
- 1 Small Onion Sliced
- ½ Cubanelle Pepper minced
- ½ Cubanelle Pepper sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tbs Sazón
- ½ Cilantro minced
- 1 Fresh Lime or Sour Orange
- 1 ½ tsp Chicken Bouillon Cube
- 1 tsp Adobo
- ¼ tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Dominican Oregano
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbs Tomato Paste
- ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes or 1 small Scotch Bonnet Pepper
- 1 Potato Diced (optional)
- ½ Carrot Diced (optional)
- Season Oxtails with onions, peppers, garlic, cumin, adobo, chicken bouillon, sazón, orégano, lime juice, and oil
- Mix the Oxtails until the seasoning has coated all of the meat
- Marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight. The longer the Oxtails marinate, the better.
- Once the Oxtails are ready, heat up a large pot until it gets REALLY REALLY hot and add oil. Optional: you can add sugar and caramelize the sugar as well
- Carefully add the Oxtails, and let them brown on each side
- Once the Oxtails have browned, add about 1 cup of water to the bowl that they were marinating in and add them to the Oxtails
- Let simmer for about 5 minutes
- Once the sauce begins to thicken, add tomato paste. Mix in until well combined
- Now add enough water to completely submerge and cover Oxtails. Add recao (cilantro)
- Stew for two hours being sure to check on Oxtails from time-to-time. Add more water if Oxtails dry up
- After two hours, add hot pepper of choice along with 1-2 more cups of water. Continue to stew Oxtails
- After 30mins, remove hot pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes
- In a separate bowl, add a dash of vinegar (about 1 tsp) to sliced up onions and peppers
- Add onions and peppers to Oxtails. Cook for another 2 minutes or until onions and pepper reach desired softness
If your Oxtails are on the fattier side, you may have to skim off extra oil as Oxtails stew. Enjoy Oxtails with White Rice, Plantains, or Yuca. Enjoy!