The Last Supper

For quite a few years of my childhood, I went to sleep away camp for a month. Every year before leaving, I would ask my mom to host “the last supper”, complete with one of my favorite homemade Cuban dishes and family by my side to send me off. I called this dinner, the last supper, since you know, they were shipping me off to a 5 -star-sleep-away-camp, in Maine, complete with children of A-list celebrities, and lobster dinners. SO ROUGH, I KNOW. But, the one thing Camp Laurel South didn’t have was Rabo. Growing up, and to this day Rabo, ox tail, is one of my favorite Cuban dishes that my mom used to make.

These days, most “ox tails” you find at your local grocery store are more likely to be beef tails as opposed to ox tails. As you may know from my Instagram stories as of lately, I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with some of my favorite Cuban dishes. Whether it be just mastering the flavors and recipes, or coming up with healthier versions, it’s whats dominating our kitchen these days. Last week at the grocery store I came across some great cuts of “ox tails” and decided it was time to experiment.

Disclaimer: when I first made this recipe last week for just Joel, Thomas and I, I did it in the instant pot and the meat fell right off the bone, but I needed more seasoning. When I made the Rabo again this past weekend for my entire family, I used my slow cooker since I was cooking significantly more ox tail. The flavor was definitely there this time, but the tenderness wasn’t the same, but read more about this in my notes below the recipe!

I’m sharing with you guys two versions of this recipe, a slow cooker version and Instant Pot version. This recipe is best served with white rice and taking some of the cooking liquid and drizzling that over your rice, excuse me as I drool just thinking about it! Let me know which version you otry and share your pictures!

Ingredients & Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs ox tails, fat trimmed (you will have to trim the fat yourself, but try choosing meatier and larger size bones, see in pictures above)
  • Cumin*
  • Salt*
  • Pepper*
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 cup cooking white wine
  • 1 cup of of broth or 1 cup of water with bouillon cube
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • Minced garlic*
  • Bay leaves

*You’ll notice that I don’t often provide measurements for seasoning. Honestly, I never measure my seasoning and just add as much as I feel like that day!

Slow Cooker Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium high heat
  2. Season oxtails with salt, pepper, and cumin
  3. Cook oxtails on each side so just the outsides are seared and place in slow cooker
  4. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Season oxtails with salt, pepper, and cumin
  2. Use the sauté feature to sear outsides of oxtails, you will have to do these in batches. Place oxtails on plate while searing
  3. Sauté peppers, onions and garlic for a few minutes
  4. Place instant pot on pressure cook and add oxtails back to instant pot.
  5. Add remaining ingredients to pot
  6. Close and seal instant pot, set to cook on high for 50 minutes
  7. When complete allow instant pot to do a natural release

Note about slow cooker: In the pictures shown, these were the ox tails I cooked in the slow cooker, which was too small for all I was cooking, but I made it work. The ox tails towards the top were not submerged in any cooking liquid which made these tails not as tender as those that were. I cooked the tails for 6.5 hours and let them keep warm in cooking liquid until we were ready to serve, about 1.5 hours later, and it helped!

Dairy Free Lasagna

I get asked a lot, “Are you dairy free? Are you vegan?” The answers are no and no. I’ve created a new term (just like every other millennial) for what I consider myself, I am dairy conscious. What does that mean you ask, Joel asked me the same thing when I first brought it up with him too. Dairy conscious means, in the comfort and privacy of my home, I try my absolute hardest to be completely dairy free. But, when we’re out at a restaurant or in public I’m not gonna be that asshole asking, “Does this have dairy? Does this have butter? Does this have cream? Etc.” I’m gonna live my life while I’m out because let’s face it, I still love dairy. But no doubt about it that I will hate myself two hours (maybe less) later while I’m stuck in the bathroom 🤷🏻‍♀️.

As a result of being “dairy conscious”, we’ve experimented A LOT this year with dairy free substitutes. Let me be VERY CLEAR, while none of the dairy free recipes I post will ever be able to fully replace their dairy counterparts in all their glory, some have come pretty damn close! Let’s start with this lasagna. I used to make this lasagna with full blown dairy followed with full blown cramps, but lasagna is one of Joel’s favorite dishes. It was time to explore!

A few notes about this lasagna:

1. I made the cashew ricotta using apple cider vinegar. I would definitely recommend using lemon juice or white wine vinegar and maybe slightly less of whatever acid you decide to use. While the “ricotta” had a great flavor before baking, the vinegar came out in a distinct, not so great way after baking.

2. The provolone slices were from the brand Follow Your Heart, I would recommend their mozzarella slices for this recipe as they have a better taste or perhaps another vegan sliced cheese of your preference!

3. If you don’t feel like making your own ricotta, Kitehill makes a great dairy free ricotta!

4. This recipe is also delicious when using actual dairy. Just substitute your favorite regular dairy products! My secret tip for the dairy-full version, use jarred vodka sauce instead of a red sauce 😉 Thank me later!

5. This recipe should keep in your fridge for a week!

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and send me your pictures and let me know how you made this your own!

Ingredients & Recipe

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 28 oz. jar of preferred red sauce (dairy free)
  • 1 bag Violife mozzarella shreds
  • 1 pack of Follow Your Heart provolone slices
  • 3 cups vegan ricotta cheese, double this recipe and save your leftovers
  • 1 box of oven ready lasagna sheets
  1. Preheat oven to 375 ° F
  2. Saute onion until translucent, add minced garlic
  3. Cook ground beef about 3/4 of the way through and then drain fat
  4. Return beef to pan and empty entire jar of sauce into pan, cook beef in sauce for a few minutes until cooked through
  5. While sauce is cooking, mix “ricotta” with egg
  6. Once sauce is finished, place some of the meat sauce at the bottom of cooking dish
  7. Layer your lasagna as follows: sauce, lasagna sheets, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella shreds, provolone slices, repeat as many times as desired or until you can no longer layer!
  8. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 ° F covered until you see cheese bubbling! Keep in mind that dairy free cheese does not brown and crisp like regular cheese.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy!