My basic pressure-braised beef
This is my basic braise, because it is laughably quick and easy. You can cook vegetables for serving with a few minutes of extra work, but if you’re lazy or pressed for time (or both), you can just cook the beef in the pressure cooker and prepare a side dish separately.
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1¼ lb braising beef in four pieces
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated but unpeeled
2 carrots, quartered
2 celery ribs, quartered
8 oz smallish potatoes, unpeeled and halved
2 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons brandy
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mixed herbs,such as herbes de Provence
salt and freshly ground black pepper
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 the 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 liquid briskly for 5 minutes or so, then return the meat and vegetables to the pan and reheat quickly.
Note: 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.
(* Recipe from '80 Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker' by Richard Ehrlich, Kyle Books-May 2012, Photography by Will Heap, shared with permission of publisher)