How to Make Rabo de Toro: A Traditional Spanish Delicacy


Rabo de Toro, also known as oxtail stew, is a traditional Spanish dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. This rich and flavorful dish is a staple in many regions of Spain, and its popularity has spread to other parts of the world as well. In this article, we will explore the history of Rabo de Toro, its ingredients, and the step-by-step process of making this delicious delicacy.

The History of Rabo de Toro

Rabo de Toro has its roots in the Spanish region of Andalusia, specifically in the city of Cordoba. It is believed to have originated during the Moorish occupation of Spain, where the consumption of bull meat was common. Over time, the dish evolved and became a favorite among the locals.

Originally, Rabo de Toro was made using the tail of a fighting bull. However, as the dish gained popularity, oxtail became the more commonly used meat due to its availability and tenderness. Today, Rabo de Toro is considered a delicacy and is often served in traditional Spanish restaurants.

The Ingredients

To make Rabo de Toro, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of oxtail
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking

The Cooking Process

Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making Rabo de Toro:

Step 1: Preparing the Oxtail

Start by trimming any excess fat from the oxtail. Season it with salt and pepper, and set it aside.

Step 2: Sautéing the Vegetables

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, garlic, and red bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they become soft and fragrant.

Step 3: Browning the Oxtail

Push the sautéed vegetables to one side of the pot and add the oxtail. Brown the oxtail on all sides, allowing it to develop a rich, caramelized crust.

Step 4: Deglazing with Red Wine

Pour the red wine into the pot, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. This process, known as deglazing, adds depth of flavor to the stew.

Step 5: Adding the Remaining Ingredients

Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, paprika, and dried thyme to the pot. Stir everything together to combine the flavors.

Step 6: Simmering the Stew

Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the stew to simmer for about 2-3 hours, or until the oxtail becomes tender and falls off the bone.

Step 7: Adjusting the Seasoning

Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to your preference. You can also add a pinch of sugar if desired to balance the flavors.

Step 8: Serving the Rabo de Toro

Once the stew is ready, remove the bay leaves and serve the Rabo de Toro hot. It pairs well with crusty bread or a side of creamy mashed potatoes.


Q1: Can I use a slow cooker to make Rabo de Toro?

A1: Yes, you can use a slow cooker to make Rabo de Toro. Simply follow the same steps of sautéing the vegetables and browning the oxtail before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or until the oxtail is tender.

Q2: Can I substitute oxtail with another type of meat?

A2: While oxtail is the traditional choice for Rabo de Toro, you can substitute it with beef shanks or short ribs if oxtail is not available. The cooking time may vary slightly depending on the cut of meat you choose.

Q3: Can I freeze Rabo de Toro?

A3: Yes, Rabo de Toro freezes well. Allow the stew to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Q4: Are there any variations of Rabo de Toro?

A4: Yes, there are regional variations of Rabo de Toro across Spain. Some recipes include additional ingredients such as chorizo, olives, or even chocolate to add a unique twist to the dish. Feel free to experiment and adapt the recipe to your taste.

Q5: What wine pairs well with Rabo de Toro?

A5: Rabo de Toro pairs well with a full-bodied red wine, such as a Tempranillo or a Rioja. The robust flavors of the stew complement the rich and fruity notes of these wines.


Rabo de Toro is a traditional Spanish dish that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Spain. With its tender oxtail, flavorful vegetables, and aromatic spices, this stew is a true delight for the senses. Whether you choose to enjoy it in a traditional Spanish restaurant or make it at home, Rabo de Toro is sure to impress your taste buds and transport you to the vibrant streets of Spain.



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