Cuban-Inspired Oxtail Pressure Cooker Stew

Oxtail Stew Plated

Oxtail Stew Plated

I know an hour seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of time to get dinner on the table – after all, I’ve been cranking out 5-20 minute meals for as long as I remember.

But when the only meat you’ve got thawed is oxtail and you don’t do grains or legumes, you’re in trouble! Unless, that is, you have a pressure cooker!

Update: I should have said this at first, but Dr. Natasha does NOT recommend the use of pressure cookers on GAPS. I’m not entirely convinced of her logic on this one, but that is the official GAPS recommendation. I like what Patty of Loving Our Guts has to say on the subject.

Our old Presto pressure cooker

Our old Presto pressure cooker

Pressure cookers speed up cooking by increasing the pressure. The locking lid keeps most of the steam in, increasing pressure. When the pressure is increased, water doesn’t convert to steam at the usual 212F. The higher the pressure, the higher the temperature before the water converts to steam, and the higher the temperature your food cooks.

I confess, I’m always a little afraid when I bust out the pressure cooker. I imagine it might explode. Last night I actually got on the phone with TinyHands for a little moral support. But honestly, pressure cookers do have safety features. You’ve got the vent, the pressure gauge, and the locking lid (that won’t fly off). You’d have to seal up the vent and weld the thing shut to get an explosion.

Cuban-Inspired Oxtail Stew

I was a bit skeptical about these seasonings, but I saw them mentioned over and over in cuban recipes. I really miss cuban food since it’s something I never learned how to make for myself. Since we rarely go out, I haven’t had it in ages! Lucky for me this turned out really good. I would have loved to have tripled the peppers, but I was just using up what I had on hand. Feel free to add more veggies as you see fit! I served this with roasted cauliflower and it was a great combination!


Oxtail from the butcher

Oxtail from the butcher

  • 1 1/2 lb oxtail
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3/4 cup strained tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped peppers
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 whole allspice
  • pinch nutmeg
  • tallow, ghee, or other fat for high-temp frying
  • coarse ground real salt


  1. Salty oxtail pieces

    Salty oxtail pieces

    Using a meat cleaver, chop your oxtail into pieces about 1 1/2 – 2 inches thick.
  2. Sprinkle coarse salt over your oxtail pieces and set aside. Prep your vegetables and grind the allspice and cloves. (I have a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices.)
  3. Put the fat in your pressure cooker (without the lid!) on medium-high heat until it is melted and hot, then brown the oxtail pieces on all sides.
  4. Browned meat with the veggies

    Browned meat with the veggies

    Remove the oxtail pieces from the pan, and put the onions in it. Sautee the onions until they are translucent.
  5. Add all the vegetables and spices, and sautee another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and return the oxtail to the pressure cooker.
  7. Put the lid on, close, and put the pressure gauge on. Bring up to 15 lbs of pressure and cook for 40 minutes. (Alternately, you can make this soup in your crock pot or a stainless steel pot… but be prepared to cook it slow and low all day!)
  8. The Oxtail Stew

    The Oxtail Stew

    Remove from heat and quick-cool your pressure cooker by running water over the edge of the pressure cooker lid. Tip the pressure cooker so that the water does not run into the vent or gauge.
  9. Remove lid and enjoy!

This post is part of Freaky Friday, Scratch’ Cookin’ Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays

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