Rabo de Toro is a Spanish dish of stewed ox tail cooked for several hours in a red wine and tomato stock mixture.
Traditionally, Rabo de Toro was made out of the tails of fighting bulls – a male cow who had succumbed to a bull fight. Today, is more popularly made with ox tail. The ox tail comes from both male and female domesticated cattle raised for their meat and milk.
Oxtail isn’t very meaty and can be tedious to eat since the meat clings to the bone running through the center of the tail. Rabo de Toro is a great way to enjoy ox tails, not just because of its rich flavor but because it is cooked for so long that the meat becomes tender and separates from the bone making it easier to eat. Rabo de Toro is usually eaten with potatoes.
Origin and Cultural Significance
Eating bulls’ meat dates back to the ancient Romans. Its popularity grew around the 16th century. Rabo de Toro was born out of the tradition of bullfighting. The fight between the bull and human matador usually ends with the bull being slaughtered by the matador.
The meat would then be divided up for consumption. The desirable cuts would be sold to butchers and the wealthy. The less desirable parts such as the ears and tail would be given to the poor who would wait outside the arena after the fight trying to get free meat. Even the testicles are eaten!
People created ways to make the less desirable cuts of meat more palatable. Today the Rabo de Toro is enjoyed by all classes and of course, there is no needs to use fighting bulls as oxtail is regularly sold at butchers and supermarkets.
Spanish Rabe de Toro Recipe
- Oxtails – 3 to 4 lbs
- Carrots, sliced – 3
- Sweet onion, diced – 1 large
- Red pepper, diced - 1
- Leek, diced - 1
- Ripe tomatoes, diced - 3
- Garlic cloves, minced - 4
- Beef stock – 2 cups
- Red table wine – 3 cups
- Bay leafes - 2
- Clove spice - 4
- Ground ginger – 1 tsp
- Salt and Pepper
- Flour to coat the meat
- Olive oil
- Season the oxtail with salt and pepper.
- In a large heavy pan or cast iron heat a splash of olive oil on medium high heat
- Lightly dust the oxtails with flour (shake away excess) and sear each piece in the hot oil until nicely browned, about 30 seconds per side.
- Remove the oxtails and let the pieces rest.
- In the same oil and pan, saute the leek, onion, garlic, red pepper, and tomato for about 10 minutes.
- Add the carrots, bay leafs, ginger, and cloves and saute 1 minute.
- Add the oxtails back to the pan and cover with the wine and stock.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a slow simmer.
- Cook the rabo de toro for 3 hours and then check to see if it is falling away from the
bone. It may need another hour or so if the meat is very tough.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3755Total Fat: 201gSaturated Fat: 78gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 93gCholesterol: 1278mgSodium: 1130mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 383g