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Cuban Rabo Encendido Recipe

Cuban Rabo Encendido Recipe

Rabo Encendido is a Cuban dish of oxtail stew which is typically cooked with a combination of wine, tomato paste and vegetables, and often served with long-grain white rice and maduros.

The dish is slow-cooked for a very long time until the meat is tender and juicy. Rabo Encendido is savory in flavor and is also considered comfort food by many.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Contrary to the translation of the name (‘tail on fire’), it is not spicy at all.

Originally considered a Spanish dish, this delicacy dates back to the 16th century when it was known as “rabo de toro” because it was prepared using bull tails. With time, the recipe for rabo encendido has evolved, and today it has many versions depending on culture.

Rabo Encendido

Cuban Rabo Encendido Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Rabo Encendido, also known as oxtail stew, is a Cuban dish prepared using oxtails. It is typically cooked in a combination of wine, tomato paste and vegetables, and often served with long-grain white rice and maduros.


  • Neutral oil - 1/4 cup
  • Beef oxtail (fat trimmed, disjointed, cut in 2-inch pieces) - 4 lbs
  • Green pepper (large, diced) - 1
  • Onion (large, diced) - 1
  • Garlic (minced) - 4 cloves
  • Beef broth - 1 cup
  • Dry cooking wine - 1 cup
  • Tomato sauce - 8 oz.
  • Complete seasoning - 1/2 tbsp
  • Ground cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Carrot (large, peeled and diced) - 1
  • Russet potatoes (medium, peeled and quartered) - 2
  • Salt - to taste
  • Pepper - to taste


  1. Begin by taking the oxtail and seasoning all its sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Now, take a Dutch oven and add oil to it. Heat the oil over a medium flame.
  3. Place the oxtail in hot oil and allow it to cook until it’s brown on every side. Make sure to fry the oxtails in batches. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.
  4. Next, add the green peppers and onions to the pan. Allow them to cook for about 1-2 minutes or until tender. Throw in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add in the beef broth, cooking wine, tomato sauce, complete seasoning, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. It’s time to put the meat back in. Once the liquid in the pot comes to a boil, lower the heat to low. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to simmer for about an hour.
  7. After 1 hour, lightly stir the meat. If you observe the liquid in the pot drying out, feel free to add an additional cup of water. Allow the dish to cook for one more hour at low heat until the oxtail becomes soft and fork-tender.
  8. After about 2 hours, throw in the carrots and potatoes. Let it cook for the next 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. Pierce the meat using a knife, and if it’s tender, your dish is absolutely done and ready. Keep in mind to make sure the carrots and potatoes are cooked too.
  9. Check for taste and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. Serve instantly with white rice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 650mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g

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