Rabo de Toro

Rabo de Toro or Spanish Oxtail Stew is a Spanish dish that is traditionally made after the bullfights, made with bull’s tail where it is slowly simmered in tomatoes and red wine with spices and aromatics until fork tender.

During the old days there were no television or radio hence in some countries they either resort to stage plays or even animal fights as their form of entertainment. In the Philippines we still have these in the form of cock fights and these events are usually huge, in fact I can remember when I was young they were bigger and they are performed in an arena where boxing and basketball matches are held. We probably got this from Spain but instead of using roosters, in Spain they have bull fights but instead of two bulls fighting for their lives, this sport is between man and bull. In both instances there will be casualties and those casualties usually become dinner (not the human casualty of course) for the lost party.

In the Philippines when the rooster dies, it becomes a stew, usually in a form of tinola, but since it’s a sporting animal they will be tough due to the muscle it builds during its training regime. This goes true as well with Bull fighting, when the bull dies, it turns into this wonderful stew called Rabo de Toro.

Rabo de Toro, Rabo de Toro Estofado or simply Spanish Bull Tail Stew is quite popular in Spain, it’s one of the country’s most typical stews. This Andalusian creation dates back to the Roman times and as mentioned typically prepared after a bull fight, today this dish is still common specially in Madrid where bullfights are still popular today. Having said that it can just be restricted to killed bulls otherwise there will a shortage of bull’s tail as an ingredient, this means modern dishes now utilize oxtails.

Rabo de Toro is a really good dish, it’s one of those dishes that is easily can be qualified as a comfort dish, prepared with bull or oxtail, where it is slowly simmered in tomatoes and red wine together with spices and aromatics for a long time making it fork tender melt in your mouth kind of dish. It can be enjoyed with mashed potatoes, French fries, crusty bread, or rice.

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Rabo de Toro

  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 50 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Spanish


Rabo de Toro or Spanish Oxtail Stew is a Spanish dish that is traditionally made after the bullfights, made with bull’s tail where it is slowly simmered in tomatoes and red wine with spices and aromatics until fork tender.


  • 2 kgs oxtails
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 pc leeks, chopped
  • 4 pcs tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups red wine (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, or any big heavy reds)
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 white onions, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Season oxtails with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Place flour in a large plate then roll oxtails into the flour until lightly covered.
  3. In a large heavy pot, heat olive oil in high heat then brown oxtails on all side, remove from pot then set it aside.
  4. Using the same pan, add olive oil then sauté leeks, onions, and garlic in low heat. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add carrots then continue to cook for a minute.
  6. Add tomatoes, bay leaf and red pepper flakes then cook until tomatoes are soft.
  7. Place the ox tails back into the pot, pour red wine and beef stock, bring it to a boil then simmer in low heat for three hours or until meat is fork tender, check liquid levels occasionally and add a bit of water if it dries out.
  8. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve.


6 Responses

  1. I am drooling 🙂 Oxtail is one of my favourite cuts! This reminds me of ordering some from my butcher.

  2. Oxtail is one of my favourites — this stew looks incredibly comforting and homey!

  3. This post brought back memories of our time living in Santo Domingo. Not only were there cockfights, Rabo was a very popular dish. To this day, it is one of my husband’s favorite dishes.

  4. suituapui says:

    The craze here is oxtail assam pedas (spicy tamarind) soup, most famous will be the one at the Hyatt International Hotel in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah…

  5. I’ve only had oxtail soup one time, but I remember it being quite tasty. This sounds like a classic slow-cooked recipe, Raymund!

  6. Somehow missed this one. I love oxtails but we don’t get them often. And bullfighting is a tradition in México just over the border. I have never been to one… I am okay skipping it! However, I don’t want to miss this stew. Looks like a good crusty bread would be a nice addition.

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