Annie Bell’s stir-fry recipes: 15-minute feasts that have weekday suppers sorted

Fresh and very fast… Annie Bell’s stir-fry recipes have weekday suppers sorted.

Chard, gnocchi and lardons fry-up

Frying gnocchi is my favourite way to cook them, turning them golden and crispy. Dished up here with a pile of succulent greens, lardons and pine nuts, pumpkin gnocchi make this an autumnal treat – the Dell’Ugo brand comes up trumps with deliciously natural little dumplings and no additives.

Chard, gnocchi and lardons fry-up
Louise Hagger

SERVES 4

150g smoked or unsmoked lardons
30g pine nuts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 long shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a paste
400g young rainbow chard, stalk-ends trimmed, sliced 1cm thick (see tip)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon and a squeeze of juice
400g pumpkin or plain gnocchi, eg Dell’Ugo
freshly grated parmesan, to serve
sea salt, black pepper

1. Heat a large (around 28cm) deep-sided nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Scatter the lardons over the base and stir-fry for about 6 minutes until golden and crispy, stirring in the pine nuts a couple of minutes before the end. Drain them on a double thickness of kitchen paper and discard the fat.

2. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and briefly fry the shallots until softened, then stir in the garlic. Add two thirds of the chard and stir-fry until it starts to wilt, then add the remainder and continue to cook for several minutes until wilted.

3. Lightly season and stir in the lemon zest, cover with a saucepan lid and cook for 2 minutes until the stalks are just tender. Add a squeeze of lemon and transfer this to a large bowl.

4. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and stir-fry the gnocchi for 3-4 minutes until golden.

5. Serve the greens with the lardons and pine nuts scattered on top, the gnocchi to the side with parmesan grated over.

TIP If the chard requires washing, slice it first then wash before giving it a spin in a salad dryer.

Apple, celery and blue cheese stir-fry

This autumnal line-up lies firmly within British shores. Try serving it with some small skin-on baked potatoes.

Apple, celery and blue cheese stir-fry
Louise Hagger

SERVES 2

1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 eating apple, cored and cut into approx 1cm dice
3 sticks of celery heart, thinly sliced
50g stilton or roquefort, cut into 1cm dice
30g coarsely chopped rocket or watercress
20g coarsely chopped walnuts
sea salt, black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a medium (around 24cm) deep-sided nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the leek, apple and celery, season and stir-fry for about 6 minutes until softened and lightly golden.

2. Fold in the cheese and rocket or watercress and cook for about 1 minute longer, until the cheese softens.

3. Serve scattered with the nuts.

Provençal stir-fry

Provençal stir-fry
Louise Hagger

Any firm, white, meaty fish will marry here with the lentils and red peppers. A splodge of aïoli would go down a treat on top.

SERVES 4

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 long red peppers, core and seeds discarded, cut into thin 4cm-5cm strips
1 fennel bulb, shoots and tough outer sheath discarded, halved downwards and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
250g cooked green lentils
200g monkfish (trimmed weight), cut into approx 3cm pieces
squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander or flat-leaf parsley
70g pitted green olives, halve
sea salt, black pepper

1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large (around 28cm) deep-sided nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Stir-fry the peppers and fennel for 6-7 minutes until lightly coloured, adding the garlic a minute before the end.

2. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, add the balsamic vinegar, season and fry for 1 minute longer, then add the lentils and heat through for a couple of minutes. Tip this into a large bowl.

3. Toss the fish with the remaining oil in a medium bowl and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until lightly coloured and it has lost its translucency, then season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Stir the fish into the lentil mixture with the coriander or parsley then serve scattered with the olives.

Chicken, broccoli and almond stir-fry

Chicken, broccoli and almond stir-fry
Louise Hagger

With the chicken, edamame beans and almonds, this comes packed with protein. You can add cooked quinoa at the end if you are seriously hungry.

SERVES 4

200g long-stem broccoli, ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 3cm-4cm pieces
20g edamame beans
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
5cm piece root ginger, skin removed and cut into matchsticks
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
400g free-range skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut across into 1cm slices
2 tbsp teriyaki marinade
1 tbsp fine strips medium-hot red chilli, 3cm-4cm long
40g roast almonds
4 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander

1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the broccoli and edamame beans to cook for 4 minutes, leaving them on the firm side, then drain using a colander.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large (around 28cm) deep-sided nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat then stir-fry the ginger and garlic for a few minutes until golden and crispy. Drain on a double thickness of kitchen paper, leaving the oil behind.

3. Add the broccoli and beans to the pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden, then transfer these to a large bowl.

4. Toss the chicken with a tablespoon of oil and the marinade. Stir-fry half the chicken for 3-4 minutes until golden and sticky, adding half the chilli strips and almonds towards the end. Add this to the green veg then repeat with the rest of the chicken.

5. Stir the green veg back into the chicken in the pan and heat through, then stir in the coriander. Serve scattered with the ginger and garlic.

Steak, onion and butternut fry-up

Steak, onion and butternut fry-up
Louise Hagger

Steak and onions are a winning combination. Here they come with a twist of chilli, avo and lime. Chopped roast peanuts scattered over at the end would be another welcome touch.

SERVES 2

flesh of 1 avocado
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350g butternut squash flesh, cut into thin 3cm-4cm wedges (see tip)
2 red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
250g rump steak, fat removed and cut into 3cm-5cm strips
a few basil leaves, torn
2 pickled chillies, e.g. Guindilla
sea salt, black pepper

1. Whiz the avocado with the lime juice, a tablespoon of oil and some seasoning in a food processor until smooth.

2. Heat the rest of the oil in a large (around 28cm) deep-sided nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat and stir-fry the butternut for about 10 minutes until golden, adding the onion halfway through.

3. Season the veg, cover the pan with a lid and cook over a very low heat for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the butternut is tender. Then put this into a large bowl.

4. Turn the heat back up to medium-high, add the steak to the pan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, seasoning it at the end. Stir this into the butternut with the basil and divide between 2 plates.

5. Serve dolloped with the avocado and a chilli on top.

TIP Whole butternut will yield about two-thirds of its weight in flesh, so allow 450g-500g.

Mushroom scrambled omelette

mushroom scrambled omelette
Louise Hagger

Spanish revueltos is like a scrambled omelette and one of my favourite ways of cooking eggs in stir-fry mode. It lends itself to any number of seasonal veggies, but autumn’s mushrooms are especially good.

SERVES 2

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 long shallot, peeled and finely chopped
250g mixture of mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (see tip)
4 large eggs
50g gruyère or emmental, cut into strips approx 1cm x 3cm
1 tbsp coarsely chopped
flat-leaf parsley
sea salt, black pepper

SIDES TO SERVES (optional)

15g salted butter
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed to a paste (optional)
100g baby spinach
2 thin slices white sourdough, toasted

1. Heat a medium (around 24cm) deep-sided nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the olive oil and fry the shallot until translucent.

2. Add the mushrooms to stir-fry for about 5 minutes until softened and golden, seasoning them at the end. Meanwhile whisk the eggs with some seasoning in a medium bowl.

3. Scatter the cheese over the mushrooms, press the pieces between them and leave for about 30 seconds until starting to melt. Pour over the egg, leave it to set briefly for 15 seconds, then turn it about 3 times at a similar interval, so cooking the egg for about 1 minute in total to leave it slightly wet and gooey.

4. Divide between 2 plates and scatter with parsley.

5. If serving the spinach, add the butter to the pan, and garlic if wished, then tip in the spinach and stir-fry until it wilts. Serve this beside the omelette, with some toast.

TIP I like to mix a few exotic or wild mushrooms in with more humble button types.

Annie Bell’s secrets to stir-fry success

  •  Always stir-fry over a medium-high heat.
  • Allow the ingredients time to start colouring before turning, rather than constantly tossing.
  • Larger ingredients, such as strips of chicken, can be turned individually.
  • Cook ingredients in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
  • My favourite stir-fry utensils are a couple of wooden spoons.
  • Treat stir-fries as building blocks, adding more ingredients depending on how hungry you are.

MY FAVOURITE ADD-ONS

  • Cooked grains eg quinoa, spelt, brown rice
  • Cooked lentils
  • A green salad on top
  • A dollop of avocado purée
  • A poached egg
  • Chopped nuts

Annie’s pick of the pans

My ideal pan does more than stir-fry, so I favour a nonstick frying pan with deep sides rather than a wok. A sauté pan with a lid is another good choice that also works for stews or as a saucepan. As a rule of thumb, a 24cm frying pan will serve 2, a 28cm frying pan will serve 4.

Lakeland Hard Anodised Bell-Shaped Frying PansLakeland Hard Anodised Bell-Shaped Frying Pans with an easy-grip handle are excellent with their rounded base. From £37.99, lakeland.co.uk

JML’s Copper stone Frying pans

JML’s Copper Stone Frying Pans are durable and deep-sided. They also sell woks. From £24.99, jmldirect.com

Zyliss 28cm Nonstick Saute Pan with Glass Lid is the answer to cooking larger stir-fries. £53.99, zyliss.co.uk

Recipes: Annie Bell. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay. Photographer’s assistant: Sophie Bronze.