Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rabo Encendido de Lilian (Ox-Tail)

Last week we went to our friend’s Marky’s house to learn how to make the Cuban classic – Rabo, or Ox Tail. The interesting thing is that Lilian, Marky’s mother-in-law and our teacher for the day isn’t Cuban! She was born and raised in El Salvador! While living there she never really cooked, however when she married a Cuban she learned – but she learned how to cook Cuban food.
Lucky for us because after she made it we ate it and it was delicious! While the “rabo” was cooking and later while we ate we chatted with Lilian and her husband Mario who worked in the beef business for many years and gave us all sorts of helpful “insider tips”. As always we had a wonderful meal and a wonderful time.
I want to clarify the name of the recipe. This is commonly called “Rabo Encendido” which roughly translates to “Tail on Fire”. I have always heard that it is called “Encendido” because it’s supposed to contain hot sauce. Now, traditional Cuban cooking doesn’t really use hot sauce as a staple – yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part our food is spicy from spices, but not “hot” in the Mexican sense. Therefore, this recipe does not contain hot sauce, but it can be added to taste if you like.
3 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot)
6 lbs Fresh Beef Ox Tail – cut in package
2 tbsp Badia Sazón Completa (this can be replaced by any Cuban complete seasoning)
1 large green bell pepper – diced
1 large onion – diced
4 medium garlic cloves – mashed
2½ cups Edmundo Golden Cooking Wine (this can be replaced by any dry white wine)
1½ cups of water
salt to taste (if needed)
32 oz tomato sauce
2 packs Sazón Goya with Coriander and Annatto (this can be replaced with any seasoning with coriander and annato)


This recipe makes approximately 6 servings
  1. Add olive oil and meat to pot. Set on Medium heat until the meat browns.
  2. Set the temperature on High. Add complete seasoning, bell pepper and onion.
  3. Cook until onions and peppers wilt. Add garlic.
  4. Lower temperature to Medium High. Add wine and water to almost cover the meat.
  • NOTE: If more liquid is needed, add a mixture comprised of a higher wine to water ratio.
  1.  Cover until the mixture comes to a slow boil. 
  2. Stir and lower to Medium. Cover for about one hour, stirring approximately every 20 minutes until the meat can be pierced with a fork but not so tender it falls off the bone.
  4. Once the meat can be pierced with a fork raise the temperature to Medium High, taste for salt (add to taste if needed) and cover.
  5. Begin to check the meat often, continue boiling until the meat is fork tender and the liquid has reduced to about half.
  6. Add tomato sauce and Sazón.
  7. Continue cooking on Medium for about half an hour until the liquid has thickened into sauce.

Serve with white rice.

¡Buen provecho!

image sources: ox tail, Badia Sazón Completa, Edmundo Golden Cooking Wine, Sazon Goya.


Nathan said...

Interesting, so I'm guessing the Badia Sazon Completa replaces the cumin, bay leaves, pepper and other typical stuff since it is a spice blend, the Goya Sazon Culantro Con Achiote seems like a tasty addition.

I like to add Potatoes and Carrots to my Rabo Encendido, I'll post it sometime this month and share with you guys :)

Hilda said...

Hi Nathan,

Yes - the Badia Sazon Completa replaces the usual spices, even - in our case - salt!

The Goya Sazon con Culantro y Achiote is primarily used for color which is provided by the Achiote which is Annatto, although the extra Culantro flavor is always nice.

I look forward to seeing your recipe. Do you use hot sauce?

Nathan said...

Nope no hot sauce, but probably for those that like it spicy you could serve the hot sauce as a condiment at the table? My mom makes a really spicy chile pepper and garlic type condiment she likes to have on the table:

None of my grandmas Cuban dishes are really "spicy" the only thing that might make them a little "hot" is black pepper, spanish sweet smoked paprika from la vera (Spain), or hot smoked spanish paprika (Pimienton Caliente) and smokey flavors from ground cumin.

One of our Cuban friends though sometimes likes to add a small red or green chili pepper to sofritos for her husband (since he's Mexican)

I have about 4 lbs. of rabo sitting in the fridge so I'll update you when I make it :)

Nathan said...

I finally got around to making some "Rabo Encendido" and blogged about it:

Feel free to stop by and give me some feedback (I'm always open to some constructive criticism so if you can think of stuff to improve it, etc. I'm all ears and whatever you think is good about it I'm all ears to lol.)

Romney Navarro said...

Thank you for this recipe guys. Very helpful. Mine is a little different as well but I am going to try it Lilian's way and compare. Not a whole lot of Rabo Encendido here in Texas so I am excited to share it with some friends.

Ofelia said...

Hi, Hilda, just came up on your blog, looking for another version of Caldo Gallego --they all do it differently from what I learned!
How come no more blogs are posted? This is a really nice page to read, compare notes and share.
Hope to see some new posts soon,

misslexy said...

I am new to blogging and LOVE to cook, This recipe is different from my version. Looks to be better, I can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

thank you for your recipe we love it I am also mom used to cook for me and my family but she Passed-away last year.I thought I would not be eating a delicious dish like my mom used to make. thank you so much, Jesus Alfaro & FAMILY

Cristina said...

thank you for this recipe! I recently made it and it came out DEEELICOUS! thank you!! i just came back to your site again b/c i'm making it again - so good and so easy to make as well! thank you!!!

Issa said...

Can you show us how to cook this recipe in a pressure cooker.

Anonymous said...

No tomatoes,(No water) red wine (as much as you want),let it simmer until you have a heavy souse, the rest of the ingredients are OK. Be sure tha the meat is tender and almost falling from the bone.

jackie Sanabria said...

This is the best recipe everrrr.. My boyfriend cooked this for me and I loveddd ittt thank you

jackie Sanabria said...

My boyfriend used this recipe for a dinner in Valentines, it was truly amazing, thank you for sharing..

Monica Andrioli said...

Estaba buscando alguna receta de como se prepara el lechon asado en caja en cali, colombia y añoro esta delicia de comida que preparaban unos amigos de mi hermana Cubanos cuanod yo vivi en Miami.

Lina Hincapie said...

Hola... soy Colombiana y casada con un cubano... por fin hice una receta de su region que me quedo ricaaaaaa.... Gracias por tus instrucciones.... ..Bendiciones

Anonymous said...

Hola, algo que le hecho al rabo encendido es una cucharadita de chocolate sin azucar, y le da un toque divino.

jessica's healthy tips said...

Very nice recipe....

I finally got around to making some "Rabo Encendido"...thank you for this recipe! I recently made it and it came out DEEELICOUS! thank you!!

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Jacqui said...

Thanks for this recipe. The only one I have uses a pressure cooker. My mom definitely didn't have time to slow cook this meal but I have all day before my friends arrive so I thought I'd take this different tactic. I noticed someone did ask how you could make the recipe with a pressure cooker so I thought I'd add my version

Warning: This is like the semi-homemade version of this dish. I took notes when my mom was making it and she was not one to make sofrito from scratch or mash garlic. But you could always take the homemade-ness from Hilda's recipe and combine it with the technic for a pressure cooker.

Kristin Martins said...

This turned out amazing. I made his for my Brazilian husband and he's requested it again multiple times. The only thing I learned in the first try was to be careful with the Edmundo Cooking Wine. I didn't realize it has added salt in it. So, I needed to add more liquid & I added more wine than water which made it a little salty the first go around. But, potatoes saved the day and no one every knew. So, now I'm conservative on the wine.
But, this was a great recipe. The photos along with the directions were very helpful.
It's just like the oxtail plate we buy at a local Cuban restaurant. Thank you for the recipe. I believe this is becoming my signature dish!

Raquel Gonzalez said...

I have used this recipe numerous times in oorder to make this for my hubby who is Cuban and it's a HIT! Since I'm P.Rican I make it with arroz con gandules and the combo is great! I have also tried quite a few of the other recipes on this as site and they have all been great!

Anonymous said...

Really good blog entry! When I lived in Miami, my girlfriend didn't cook so I bought a Cuban cookbook and this was the only recipe I did not attempt. I lost the cookbook when moving but I will follow your directions. Thanks for publishing!