Authentic Rabo Guisado Recipe

Authentic Rabo Guisado Recipe: A Flavorful Delight from the Caribbean

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Explore the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean with this authentic Rabo Guisado recipe. Rabo Guisado, also known as oxtail stew, is a beloved dish enjoyed in many Caribbean countries. With tender oxtail simmered in a rich and flavorful sauce, this dish is a true comfort food that will transport you to the sunny shores of the islands. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply craving a taste of the tropics, this recipe is sure to satisfy. Let’s dive into the ingredients and steps to create this delicious culinary masterpiece!


  • Meat:
    • 3 lbs Oxtail, Fresh & Cleaned
  • Produce:
    • 1 Bay leaf
    • 2 sprigs Cilantro
    • 8 cloves Garlic
    • 1 Green pepper, medium
    • 3 tsp Marjoram
    • 1 Spanish onion
  • Canned Goods:
    • 3 tsp Adobo
    • 1 tsp Maggie chicken bouillon powder
  • Condiments:
    • 1/4 cup Sofrito
    • 4 oz Tomato sauce
  • Baking & Spices:
    • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
    • 1 Pepper, medium yellow
    • 1/2 tsp Pepper
    • 1 Red pepper, medium
    • 1 Salt
  • Oils & Vinegars:
    • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Other:
    • 2 sprigs Culantro (if you can’t find it, add more cilantro)
    • 1 packet Sazon


  1. Prepare the Oxtail: Rinse the oxtail pieces under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season the oxtail generously with adobo seasoning and set aside.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions, bell peppers, and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. Brown the Oxtail: Increase the heat to medium-high and add the seasoned oxtail pieces to the pot. Brown the oxtail on all sides, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pot. This step adds depth of flavor to the stew.
  4. Add the Seasonings: Once the oxtail is nicely browned, add the bay leaf, cilantro, marjoram, culantro (if using), sazon packet, and tomato sauce to the pot. Stir to combine, ensuring that the oxtail is well coated with the seasonings.
  5. Simmer the Stew: Pour enough water into the pot to cover the oxtail completely. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the stew to simmer gently for 2-3 hours, or until the oxtail is tender and falls off the bone.
  6. Thicken the Sauce: Once the oxtail is tender, remove it from the pot and set it aside. Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the stew. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and Maggie chicken bouillon powder. Stir the mixture into the stew to thicken the sauce slightly.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Return the oxtail to the pot and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, alongside rice, beans, or your favorite side dishes.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Slow Cooker Method: To make Rabo Guisado in a slow cooker, follow steps 1 and 2 to sauté the aromatics and brown the oxtail. Transfer the sautéed ingredients to a slow cooker, add the remaining seasonings and enough water to cover the oxtail, then cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the oxtail is tender.
  • Vegetable Additions: Feel free to add additional vegetables to the stew, such as carrots, potatoes, or yuca, for extra flavor and texture.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of pepper and red pepper flakes to suit your personal preference for spiciness.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

  • Keto Version: To make a keto-friendly version of Rabo Guisado, omit the brown sugar and use a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or stevia. Serve the stew alongside cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for a low-carb alternative to traditional rice.
  • Low-Carb Version: For a lower-carb option, reduce the amount of tomato sauce and omit the brown sugar entirely. Serve the stew with a side of steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad for a satisfying low-carb meal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use beef instead of oxtail? A: While oxtail is traditional for Rabo Guisado, you can certainly use beef stew meat as a substitute if desired. Keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the cut of beef used.

Q: What is sofrito, and can I make it at home? A: Sofrito is a flavorful cooking base made from onions, bell peppers, garlic, and herbs, commonly used in Caribbean cuisine. While it can be found pre-made in many grocery stores, you can also make it at home by blending together equal parts of diced onions, bell peppers, garlic, and cilantro until smooth.

Q: Can I make Rabo Guisado ahead of time? A: Yes, Rabo Guisado actually tastes even better when made ahead of time, as the flavors have time to develop. You can prepare the stew up to 2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and serve.

Q: What should I serve with Rabo Guisado? A: Rabo Guisado pairs well with traditional Caribbean side dishes such as white rice, black beans, fried plantains, or tostones (fried green plantains). You can also serve it with a simple salad or steamed vegetables for a lighter option.

Q: Can I freeze Rabo Guisado? A: Yes, Rabo Guisado freezes well. Once cooled, transfer the stew to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Rabo Guisado is a quintessential dish of the Caribbean, cherished for its rich flavors and comforting appeal. With tender oxtail simmered in a savory sauce infused with aromatic spices and herbs, this dish captures the essence of Caribbean cuisine. Whether enjoyed on a sunny afternoon or a chilly evening, Rabo Guisado is sure to transport your taste buds to a tropical paradise. So gather your ingredients, embrace the flavors of the islands, and savor every delicious bite of this authentic Caribbean delicacy!

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