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While summer is synonymous with different things for different people, Padma Lakshmi associates the season with a classic pantry item. As the Bravo's Top Chef host explained on the show's May 14 episode: "Beans are a staple on any summer menu."
With that said, the seven remaining cheftestants on the episode were faced with a quickfire challenge to make a dish featuring BUSH's beans.
Bryan Voltaggio was immediately excited by the task. "I'm down with beans. To be honest with you, I love BUSH's Beans," he said. It's something that we keep in our pantry at home."
For emphasis, he quipped: "No beans about it, I want to win."
Ultimately, Lee Anne Wong was the winner with her Cuban black bean empanadas, pickled purple hull pea and corn slaw, and mango salsa fresca (see the full recipe below!).
When announcing the winner of the challenge, guest judge and season 16 winner Kelsey Barnard Clark, who previously noted the flavor of Lee Anne's dish "was just spot on," also raved about her other notable accomplishments within the meal. "The chef with the winning dish today really felt the environment, they really incorporated the beans," she said. "And showed skill in this short amount of time."
While the quickfire win (her first since season 1!) is a memorable moment in its own right, Lee Anne's cash prize is going toward a very special occasion. "This is 10k I can put toward my wedding," she said, "This will cover all of the catering."
With a laugh, she quipped: "We'll have lots of baked beans for my wedding."
Get Lee Anne's quickfire-winning recipe here:
Cuban Black Bean Empanada, Pickled Purple Hull Pea and Corn Slaw & Mango Salsa Fresca
for the empanada
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 can BUSH’S Cuban Style Black Beans™ drained and rinsed*
• 1/2 yellow onion, small diced
• 1 Serrano pepper, finely diced
• 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
• 1/4 cup Cotija cheese
• 3 tbs cilantro
• Salt and pepper to taste
For the black eyed pea and corn slaw
• 1/2 red onion thin sliced
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup distilled vinegar
• 1/2 cup water
• ½ can BUSH’S® Purple Hulls or BUSH’S® Blackeye Peas
• 1 ear corn, grilled, kernels cut off cob
• 1/2 tomato, small dice
• 1/4 head green cabbage, thin chiffonade
• Pinch salt
• Pinch ancho pepper powder
• Pinch smoked paprika
• 1/4 cup cilantro minced
• Zest and juice of one lime
For the mango salsita
• Flesh from 1/2 ripe mango
• Flesh from 1/4 yellow onion
• 1/2 Serrano pepper
• 1/4 sweet red bell pepper
• 1/2 ripe tomato
• 1/2 cup cilantro
• Juice of 2 limes
• Salt and pepper to taste.
• for the garnish
• Thinly sliced red Radish
• Cilantro leaves
• Cotija cheese
for the empanada
Combine the flour, water and salt in a bowl until a dough is formed, add more water or flour as needed. Dived the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each out to a 6" circle.
Heat a pan over high heat, sauté the onion, corn and Serrano in grapeseed oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add to a bowl of the drained Cuban black beans. Stir in the Cotija cheese and cilantro and season w salt and pepper to taste. Divide the filling between 4 dough discs. Fold the dough over the filling and crimp the edges together to form the empanadas. Deep fry at 350F until golden brown and crisp.
for the black-eyed pea slaw
Bring the vinegar sugar and water to a boil. Add the sliced red onion and the black-eyed peas to the pickling liquid. Simmer for 4 minutes then drain. Toss with remaining ingredients and season to taste.
for the mango salsita
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and purée until smooth, season to taste. To plate. Place slaw in middle of plate. Top w the fried empanada, sliced radishes, Cotija cheese, and cilantro leaves. Spoon mango salsita around the plate.
*Note: for full flavor, do not drain and rinse
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