Old Cuban Oxtail Stew Recipe

Beef oxtails, cooked old Cuban style, are marinated 24 hours in hearty red wine, garlic, onions and capers, then slowly simmered for hours. The cooking meat’s aromas will drift from the kitchen to every little corner of your home. The meat is tender and literally falling off the bone, and the flavors speak to your taste-buds like singing poetry. And I can attest to this. My family literally hums through their meal, and slurp loudly while licking their fingers. Oh-yeah!

This recipe was given to my mother when she was just a very young bride, then she gave it to me. Now it is my turn to pass it on to my daughters.

Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!

This recipe serves 6 to 8 people

Steps 1 (Marinate overnight or 24-48 hours):

6 pounds beef oxtails, trimmed of some fat (leave a little for the release of flavor)

2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

12 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons dry Italian herbs

1/3 cup capers, juice included

1.5 liter bottle full-bodied red wine (such as Zinfandel)

1/2 cup cream sherry

2 tablespoons coarse gray salt (preferred)

1 tablespoon red chili flakes

Spread oxtails on a heavy shallow pan and roast for 20 minutes, let cool for about 20 minutes.

In a non-reactive bowl add meat and ingredients, toss well to combine, cover tightly with plastic wrap (and then maybe even with foil, too, this helps to contain the garlic’s pungent aroma from spreading), and place in the fridge to marinate at least overnight.

Steps 2 (Day of cooking):

2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste

Put the oxtails into a large, heavy Dutch oven and bring to a quick boil, when boiling, cover the pot, lower heat but keep a good simmer going, and cook about 4-5 hours, or until just tender when poked with a fork.

Add tomato paste, blending well, and adjust salt to taste. Cover the pot and cook for another hour.

Serve oxtails with steamed rice or mashed potatoes. And don’t forget to ladle some extra sauce over the rice or potatoes.

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