Cuban Oxtail Stew – Rabo Encendido

“Rabo Encendido” roughly translates to “Tail on Fire”.  This is a bit deceiving as there are no chillies or even pepper in this Cuban oxtail stew ( traditional Cuban dishes aren’t hot).  Feel free to add hot sauce if you want a bit of a kick.

Rabo Encendido – Cuban Oxtail Stew


1.8kg oxtails, disjointed
1/4 cup olive oil
extra olive oil for frying
2 cups dry red wine, divided
1 tsp salt
2.5 cups onions, diced
2.5 cups green peppers, diced
2 cups red/yellow peppers, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup potatoes, diced
6 garlic cloves, mashed with
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Sazon seasoning
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
2 bay leaves
2 cans tomato sauce
2.5 cups beef stock

Sazon seasoning

Sazon is a type of seasoned salt found in Spanish and Mexican markets.


1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsbp annetto seeds / paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp salt

Mix ingredients together and store in airtight container.
1 1/2 teaspoons of this mix equals one packet of commercial sazon.


Marinate the oxtail in a mixture of the olive oil, salt and 1 cup of the wine for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the oxtail and discard the marinade.

Brown the meat on both sides in olive oil.

Remove the meat.  Add the onions, peppers, carrots and potatoes and sautee until the onions are translucent.

Add the garlic/salt mixture and cook for another minute.

Add the remaining ingredients.

Simmer, covered on low heat for about 6 hours or until the meat is tender, almost falling off the bone.

Alternatively cook for 8 hours in a slow cooker.

Serve with rice.

You can find the original recipe here.

This came out really well.  Adrienne – the oxtail connoisseur in our house – proclaimed it the best he has ever eaten.  High praise indeed.

We enjoyed this with a Neil Joubert Shiraz and Odd Bins Cabernet Sauvignon.


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