Rabo Encendido – Oxtail Stew (Tail on Fire)

Rabo Encendido Oxtail Stew (Tail on Fire) is a traditional Cuban entrée that is served on special occasions and it’s a favorite in most Cuban restaurants in Miami. It is served hot and it has a sharp, peppery taste, and that is why it was given that name.

 Here is a classic recipe from the book “Memories of a Cuban Kitchen”.


3 to 3 ½ pounds oxtails, trimmed of fat, disjointed, and cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Juice of 2 limes

½ cup pure Spanish olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup drained and chopped canned tomatoes or prepared tomato sauce

1 cup dry sherry wine

1 cup dry red wine

2 cups Cuban Beef Stock or canned beef broth

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 bay leaf

2 medium-size chorizos, or other spicy sausage, sliced 1 inch thick

4 medium-size all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered


  1. Sprinkle the oxtails with the salt, pepper, and lime juice. In a large soup kettle or casserole over medium heat, heat ¼ cup of the oil until fragrant, then brown the oxtails on all sides. Transfer them to a platter and discard the oil. In the same kettle, heat the remaining oil over low heat until fragrant, then cook the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Return the oxtails to the kettle and add everything but the potatoes. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 2 hours. Add additional stock if needed. Add the potatoes and cook an additional 30 minutes, until the oxtails and potatoes are done, and serve hot.  Add white rice and black beans, or moros, sweet plantains and an avocado to enhance the dining experience.

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