Rabo de Toro (Oxtail Stew)
Rabo de Toro is Spanish Oxtail stew, a slow cooked beef dish that consists of melt in your mouth meat that falls off the bone, and a rich, unctuous gravy that will immediately bring you to your happy place. (maybe not if you are a vegetarian)
One of the best meals I have ever had was at a little Spanish cafe in Barcelona a few years back. I didn't speak Spanish and the little old lady running the place didn't speak English so I picked something out at random on the menu and hoped for the best. The dish I picked was, as you may have guessed; Rabo de Toro. I had no idea what it was even when it arrived at the table, I had never had oxtail before, never mind the Spanish version! But what I did know was that it was one of the best dishes I had ever had the pleasure of eating. This is my version of the classic dish that made me so happy, many moons ago.
In Spain it is usually served with chips but it also goes quite well with roast potatoes or freshly baked sourdough bread.
2 Tablespoons Plain Flour
100ml Rapeseed Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 5mm slices
1 Leek, thinly sliced
5 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Small Cinnamon Stick
4 Tomatoes, roughly chopped
500ml Red Wine
2 dried bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
Large cast iron pot with a lid
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 4 1/2 hours
Serves: 4 - 6 people (when served with chips or roast potatoes)
Start with preheating your oven to 160c on the fan setting
Trim away any excess fat from the oxtail and lay it out on a tray, sprinkle over a little salt as well as half the flour, then turn them over and do the same on the other side. Toss the pieces around until they are evenly coated
Heat a large cast iron pot on a high heat and add the oil. Brown the oxtail on all sides in batches before setting aside.
In the same pot, add the onions, carrot, leek and garlic and fry, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes until starting to caramelize slightly, then add the cinnamon stick, cloves and tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes
Add the oxtail back to the pan and give it a good stir, then add the brandy and wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half
Add the bay leaves and rosemary as well as a good pinch of salt and few grinds of black pepper
Place the lid on the pot and put in the oven, cook slowly for four hours until it has cooked right down and the oxtail is so tender it falls off the bone. You'll need to stir it at least every half hour to stop it sticking, maybe a little more regularly towards the end. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving
Serve with chips or roast potatoes and enjoy!