clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
Plate of spanish oxtail tapas recipe

Rabo de Toro

  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Rabo de Toro is a Spanish oxtail stew that takes long cooking at a low temperature. The red wine, sherry and vegetables create a decadent gravy.



  • 30ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 2kg (4lbs) oxtail, segmented and excess fat trimmed
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, washed and chopped
  • 1kg (2lbs) tomatoes, washed and chopped
  • 750ml (3 cups) red wine
  • 250ml (1 cup) dry sherry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 60g (2oz) parsley, washed and chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / 356°F / gas mark 4.
  2. Heat the oil over a high heat in a large oven proof pot.
  3. Brown the oxtail all over. It’s best to do it in batches. Set the oxtail aside.
  4. Continuing using the same pot, lower the heat and add the onions, stirring vigorously to soak up all the fats. Fry for about 3 minutes, or until softened and translucent.
  5. Add the garlic, carrots and celery to the onions. Stir fry for about another 5 minutes, sweating the vegetables.
  6. Add the tomatoes, and cook for another 5 minutes until a very chunky sauce forms.
  7. Tip the oxtail in with the vegetables and stir.
  8. Turn the heat up to high then pour in the red wine. Let it bubble for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the sherry and bay leaves, cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. At this point you have to check the level of liquid in the pot because you don’t want it to dry out while cooking. Add enough water that all ingredients are barely covered. Continue cooking until a bubbling point is reached.
  11. Place the lid on the pot and transfer to the oven.
  12. Cook for 1½ hours.
  13. Check the liquid level every hour or so and add a splash of water if required.
  14. Lower the temperature to 160°C / fan 140°C / 320°F / gas mark 3, add the parsley and stir, then cook for another 1½ hours.
  15. Fish out the oxtail and pieces of meat that fell off because it’s so tender. Set aside.
  16. Get a large bowl or pot and sieve the remaining contents. The goal is to separate the vegetables and bay leaves from the sauce.
  17. Give the vegetables a squeeze to get as much of the juices out as possible, then discard them. What you’ll be left with is a rich, dark and glossy gravy.
  18. Tip the oxtail back into the sauce, stir and gently reheat before serving.
  19. Serve immediately, with chunky potato wedges – tapas-style. Enjoy!


The cooking temperatures and times you can tweak. My favourite way to go about it is start off high, as stated in the recipe, but then you can go lower, say 140°C / fan 120°C / 284°F / gas mark 1, and cook it for 3 hours (or more!) instead of 1½ hours. If you prepare oxtail enough, you’ll discover your own favourite method. Just follow the golden rule: the lower and slower, the better!

  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: rabo de toro, spanish oxtail stew, spanish oxtail tapas recipe, spanish bull tail stew, spanish beef recipe, oxtail recipe