|2-3 Tbs vegetable oil||2 tsp brandy|
|1 1/4 lb braising beef in four pieces||14 oz canned chopped tomatoes|
|1 garlic bulb, cloves separated but unpeeled||2 tsp red wine vinegar|
|2 carrots, quartered||1 tsp mixed herbs, such as herbes de Provence|
|2 celery ribs, quartered||1 pint red wine|
|8 oz smallish potatoes, unpeeled and halved||Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|2 tsp flour|
Pour in enough vegetable oil to generously film the base of the pressure cooker, and heat to medium-high. Brown the beef all over, for just a couple of minutes per side, to get some color into it. You will have to do this in at least two batches.
Pour off the excess oil from the pan and turn the heat down to low. Add 1 tablespoon fresh oil. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Stir briskly, scraping the base of the pan to dislodge the browning residue, then add the flour and stir well until it begins to take on a little color. Stir in the brandy and let it sizzle for a moment. Put the beef back in, turn the heat up to high, and dump in the tomatoes, vinegar, herbs, wine, and seasoning.
Clamp on the lid. Bring up to full pressure, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steam vent gradually.
The braising liquid can be reduced if you wish, in order to concentrate its flavor. Remove all the solid ingredients and simmer the lique briskly for 5 minutes or so, then return the meat and vegetables to the pan and reheat quickly.
The carrots and celery shouldn't be served, as they are included to give flavor and will have cooked to extreme mushiness. If you want to have edible vegetables in the stew, cut up an extra pair of celery sticks and carrots. Cook the beef and vegetables for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and vent immediately. Put the additional celery and carrots in. Clamp on the lid. Bring up to full pressure, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. Discard the long-cooked vegetables before serving.
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