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Cuban Spicy Oxtail Stew (Rabo Encendido): great for the slow cooker and can be made with brisket, chuck and short ribs as well!

Cuban Spicy Oxtail Stew (Rabo Encendido)

Recipe shared with permission of the publisher. From Verlinden: Literally translated Rabo Encendido is “Tail on Fire.” Rabo Encendido is one of the few picante Cuban dishes. While Cuban cuisine is highly seasoned, it is seldom “hot.” In Cuban homes, the appetites of Cubans who like things spicy hot are typically satisfied by placing a bottle of hot sauce on the table. If you can get past the idea of the part of the cow this cut comes from, oxtail is a delicious treat. The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth. Give it a try. I know you’ll like it.
Course Entree
Cuisine Cuban
Author John Verlinden


  • 3 pounds oxtails, trimmed, disjointed and cut into 2" pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons naranja agria — or bitter orange juice, substitute a mixture of equal parts orange juice and lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 8- ounce can tomato sauce
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 15-oz can beef broth
  • 2 large chorizos (sliced into 1" thick rounds)
  • 4 medium potatoes (peeled and quartered)


  1. Season the oxtail pieces with salt, pepper and naranja agria.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until fragrant, then brown the oxtails on all sides. Remove them from the heat, set aside and discard oil.
  3. In a large casserole or dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until fragrant, then add the onion and green pepper and cook for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the garlic and dry spices, and sauté for about 2 more minutes or until the onion is translucent and tender.
  4. Put the oxtails in the pan and add all of the remaining ingredients except the potatoes. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 2 hours, adding additional liquid if needed.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley.