Entrees Global Recipes

Scallops with Braised Oxtail and Porridge-Cuba

My mom visited Pittsburgh last week and her being here was the only reason I decided to undertake such a time consuming recipe. I’ve had my Jose Garces cookbook for almost a year now and while I’ve tried out a few recipes, the book has otherwise sat “unengaged” sadly (compared to some of my other beloved cookbooks). The book has gorgeous photographs, fascinating written content, and some recipes that sound amazing and yet a lot them are lengthy, difficult, and require a slew of ingredients. But I figured with an extra set of hands in the kitchen, I could put my best foot forward and forward we did.

I ended up selecting a recipe that sounded so exotic and out there I just wanted to try it. I personally love scallops and was intrigued by the idea of pairing them with oxtail and porridge. My local supermarket (annoyingly) didn’t have any oxtails that day and so we had to substitute it with beef shank but it seemed to work out okay.

Between the scallops, meat, porridge, and plantains, it was a meal within itself as in you wouldn’t need to make anything extra save for perhaps a small green salad. Having success with this particular recipe definitely gives me the motivation to try out some additional ones in hopefully the near future!

Vieras con rabo encendido y tamal en cazuela
recipe adapted from Jose Garces’ The Latin Road Home


3 pounds of oxtail (may substitute beef shank)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large Spanish onion, diced

1 small red pepper, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 plum tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 dry white wine

6 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon minced oregano

Dash of cumin

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons unsalted butter


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Spanish onion finely diced

2 cups of thawed frozen corn kernels, pureed in a blender

7.5 cups chicken stock + 1/2 cup

1 cup yellow corn meal



2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 large fresh sea scallops


Fried plantains

cilantro leaves for garnish

To prepare the oxtails:

Season with salt and pepper and sear them on all sides in the oil, 1 to 2 minutes per side in a large, 4 quart pot then remove. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered 5-7 minutes. Stir in the wines and continue simmering about 10 minutes. Add the beef stock, bring to a boil, and simmer 10-12 minutes.

Return the oxtails to the pot, stir in the spices, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile to make the tamale, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion and corn puree about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat, slowly whisk in the corn meal and continue stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Decrease the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until the tamale is very thick and creamy, 35-40 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock and stir to incorporate, season to taste. Keep warm until serving time, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days and rewarm over medium low heat adding more stock as needed to restore the creamy texture.

To continue preparing the oxtails:

Use a slotted spoon to lift out the oxtails. Shred and set aside the meat, discarding the bones. Strain the liquid into a clean sauce pan, discarding the solids from a sieve. Skim the fat from the surface and set the braising liquid aside, separately from the meat. (At this point the meat and the liquid can be kept refrigerated in separate containers for up to 2 days or frozen up to 3 months.)

To roast the scallops:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F). Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and when the oil begins to shimmer, place them in the pan and sear them for about 1 minute. Without moving the scallops, transfer the pan to the oven and roast about 3 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside, tented with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, to finish the oxtails, return the saucepan of braising liquid to the stove, warm it over medium heat, fold in the shredded oxtails and the butter and cook just until the butter is melted and the meat is warmed through.

To serve:

Divide the tamal among four shallow bowls, add a spoonful  of stew, 2 scallops, and a few pieces of fried plantain to each bowl. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

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  • Reply
    Sara Louise
    November 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Oh wow! This looks decadent! And it’s funny that you made it for your mother because this is the type of dish my mother would love 🙂

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      November 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Must be a mother’s thing 🙂 The cookbook actually has a lot of fish dishes but I am not the biggest fan of poisson so I axed a couple of ones that were suggested. But this one was the winning one, taste and presentation!

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