rabo encendido

When Ben was still living in Chicago, one of the first restaurants he took me to was this Cuban place called Habana Libre. The place has lots of sentimental value to him because it’s where he celebrated his 30th birthday, where his “goodbye chicago, hello plano” party was held, and most importantly, it’s where he introduced to me (and several others who visited him in chicago) how delicious rabo encendido (oxtail stew) could be. For his 31st birthday in dallas, we went to the top yelp-rated restaurant that served rabo encendido….and sadly, it was a fail. I decided to take matters into my own hands last weekend and try making the stew myself. Plus, I got to bring out my baby–my le creuset, that is.


  • 4 pounds oxtail
  • two onions, diced
  • two green peppers, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can (12 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2.5 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded

In a Dutch oven or big pan, add a tablespoon of EVOO and brown the oxtail meat on both sides for roughly 3-4 minutes each side. Remove the meat and set aside. Saute the onions and green peppers in the same pan. Once the onions caramelize, add the garlic, all spices, carrots, celery, beef broth, wine, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer for two hours on medium-low heat, then add the potatoes. Simmer for an additional 1.5 hours. Remove bay leaves and serve with rice.


rabo encendido

To be honest, the flavor was delicious, but the meat did not turn out as “fall-off-the-bone” as I wanted. Ben ended up putting the meat and broth in the slow cooker the next day for 4 hours and afterwards, it really was fall off the bone delicious. In fact, Ben told me that Habana Libre actually cooks their oxtail overnight. In the future, I’d probably follow this same recipe and just cook it in the slow cooker for 8-9 hours. Or maybe 2-2.5 hours in my pressure cooker. Idea!

rabo encendido


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