A traditional Andalucian dish, Rabo de Toro (or Spanish Oxtail Stew) is pure comfort on a plate. Thick, flavor-packed sauce with fall-of-the-bone meat — experience a piece of South Spain in every serving!
Seville, Cordoba, and Malaga. These are just some of the cities in the region of Andalucia where you will undoubtedly find the best rabo de toro.
Why? Because of the bullrings. Let’s backtrack a bit. 🙂
First, what exactly is rabo de toro?
It’s a Spanish stew traditionally made with bull tail — and initially served after every bullfight.
However, oxtail is commonly used nowadays instead of a bull tail, even in these southern cities.
It doesn’t mean it’s less delicious, though. Nope.
You still get the same complex Spanish flavors of the sherry and smoked paprika mixed with crushed tomatoes in every meaty bite — absolutely mouthwatering!
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- Oxtail – chopped in chunks; you can use different sizes of oxtail as long as they’ve been rinsed and patted dry before seasoning.
- Sherry – dry sherry wine like Palo Cortado is excellent for making Spanish oxtail stew.
- Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil, if possible.
- Onion – finely chopped.
- Carrot – chopped into small cubes.
- Celery – finely chopped.
- Tomato paste – just use your favorite brand.
- Crushed tomatoes – canned crushed tomatoes are excellent for classic Spanish stew.
- Stock – I typically use beef stock, but chicken stock is absolutely fine as well.
- Spices & seasoning – salt, ground black pepper, sweet and hot smoked paprika
Start making rabo de toro by blotting the pieces of oxtail with kitchen paper, then season them generously with salt and pepper.
Use a deep pot (or Dutch oven) to heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the seasoned pieces of oxtail — you might need to do it in batches to not overcrowd the pan.
Brown them on all sides, then set them aside.
Using the same pan, saute the chopped onions.
Once the onions are slightly softer, add the carrots and celery.
Cook for four to five minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the tomato paste, sweet and hot smoked paprika.
Cook for at least two minutes.
Place the pieces of browned oxtail back into the pot.
Add the sherry.
Mix and let at least half of the sherry evaporate. It typically takes six to seven minutes.
The remaining liquid should be noticeably thicker — the start of the sauce for your Spanish oxtail stew.
Add the crushed tomatoes and stock.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for two and a half hours or until the meat becomes tender — taste and adjust seasoning during this time.
Transfer your Spanish oxtail stew into plates and serve!
- Make sure you pat the chunks of oxtail with kitchen paper or roll them with kitchen paper before seasoning. It helps in browning them if they are not wet.
- Feel free to remove some of the oil from browning the meat. I typically take out about two tablespoons of oil before adding the onions.
- Do not add all the stock right away. Instead, start with two cups first, and then add more if you think it’s needed.
The idea is that when you start simmering, you have just enough liquid to cover the chunks of oxtail in the pan.
How to serve Spanish oxtail stew?
Take it from the locals, rabo de toro is traditionally served with:
- French fries
Ok, wine is just my opinion — but trust me, they go well together. Yum!
So how about it? Try this Spanish oxtail stew recipe this weekend; you will not regret it!
OR YOU CAN GET MORE IDEAS FROM THIS LIST OF DINNER DISHES FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
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Spanish Oxtail Stew (Rabo de Toro Recipe)
- 3 pounds oxtail (1.5 kilos)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium to large carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, finelly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 3/4 cup sherry
- 1 & 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 to 2 & 1/2 cups stock
- salt and pepper, to season
- Season the chunks of oxtail with salt and pepper.
- Place a deep pot (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat, then add and heat the olive oil.
- Once the oil is ready, start frying the meat.(Note: Do this in batches to not overcrowd the pan.)
- Brown them on all sides, remove from the pan, then set them aside.
- Using the same pan, saute the chopped onions.
- Once the onions are slightly softer, add the carrots and celery.
- Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomato paste, sweet and hot smoked paprika; then cook for at least 2 minutes.
- Add the pieces of browned oxtail back into the pot.
- Pour the sherry.
- Mix and let at least half of the sherry evaporate. (Note: It generally takes six to seven minutes.)
- The remaining liquid should be noticeably thicker at this point.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stock.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 2.5 hours or until the meat becomes tender — taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Transfer your rabo de toro into plates and serve!
- Cook’s Tip #1: No need to use all the leftover oil from browning the meat. I typically remove two tablespoons of oil before adding the onions.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Add just enough stock to cover the meat — start with no more than two cups, then add more as you see fit.
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