Black Bean, Corn, and Chard Pie

Black Bean, Corn, and Chard Pie
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black bean, corn, and chard pie
We think of this as a complete meal.

We came up with this idea based on ingredients we had in the house: some black beans left after making rice and beans, a couple of ears of corn from a great sale, some puff pastry that’s been sitting in the freezer, and Swiss chard from our latest pickup at the CSA. But, we don’t really think of this as a leftover dish; it’s good enough to make anytime.

Please note that our ingredients and recipe will use our standard pie crust recipe, and we really think that you can even consider that optional — it’ll be good without the crust — so we mark it that way. We used a different crust — puff pastry crust — because we had some on hand, as we like to make up a batch in the cooler months and keep it in the freezer for later use.

Black Bean, Corn, and Chard Pie

Yield: One 9x13-inch pan

Black Bean, Corn, and Chard Pie


  • 1 Pâte Brisée, chilled and ready to roll, optional
  • 2 cups drained black beans, liquid reserved
  • 1 Tbs canola or other neutral oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 1/3 cup polenta or cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, or ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Large pinch red pepper
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, finely shredded
  • kernels from 2 ears corn or 2 cups frozen kernels
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) grated cheese

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Measure the amount of reserved liquid drained from the beans, and, if necessary, discard or add water to make 1 cup. Add polenta, cumin seeds, and chili powder, and stir to mix. Set aside to allow the polenta to absorb some liquid.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring as needed, until wilted and tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour polenta mixture into baking pan and scoop the Swiss chard in an even layer over the top.

In a bowl, mix together corn and beans and spread in an even layer on the Swiss chard. Top with grated cheese.

If using, roll crust into a 9x13 inch rectangle and place over the cheese, leaving gaps near the edges.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until crust is browned and filling is bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Ingredient discussion:

cutting kernels from corn
We prefer fresh corn over frozen, so much more that we just do without corn until the summer season rolls around.

We’ve tried to make up a batch of beans about once a week; if we don’t eat them all, the extras go into the freezer for another day. It may seem as if it’s a lot of trouble to cook dried beans, but it’s not so bad. We use fresh corn and recommend it because it tastes better than frozen and (ugh) canned corn. Don’t believe us? Do a taste comparison.

If you’re going to put a crust on top, we heartily recommend making the Bouchon Bakery’s Pâte Brisée. It’s the best we’ve found and it’s easy.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside for now.

draining beans
We almost always make our own beans; with a little planning it’s not hard, and, they’re better-tasting.

Drain beans. Place the beans in a colander set over a bowl and let drain, reserving the liquid. Once drained, measure the amount of liquid and either discard some or add water until you have 1 cup.

adding polenta
Polenta is nothing more than a slightly coarser cornmeal.

Add polenta and spices. Add the polenta (or cornmeal; they’re pretty much the same thing), cumin, and chili powder and stir to mix. Let stand so the polenta will absorb some of the liquid while you continue.

Cook onions. Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn, until they’re starting to get tender, about 7 minutes.

adding red pepper
We used a hefty pinch of red pepper. We wanted the pie spicy, but not hot.

Add garlic and red pepper. Stir in the garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring often — garlic is easy to burn — until you can smell the garlic and red pepper, about 1 to 2 minutes.

cooking chard
We had a huge bunch of Swiss chard. You may have a smaller amount.

Cook chard. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring and turning the chard as needed, until it’s wilted and tender. Depending on the amount of chard you have, this can take 7 to 10 minutes, or possibly a bit more. Once tender, remove from heat.

Layer polenta mixture. Give the polenta and bean liquid a stir and pour it into the prepared pan. It won’t be thick; it’ll still be more like cornmeal and liquid, so try to spread the polenta grains in an even layer. As the pie bakes the polenta will absorb the liquid, making a thin layer on the bottom of the pie.

layering chard
The chard and polenta mix will form something of a base for your pie.

Layer chard. Scoop the Swiss chard over the polenta and liquid carefully so the polenta stays in a somewhat even layer and the chard makes an even layer.

layering beans and corn
Think of the beans and corn as the filling for your pie.

Layer beans and corn. In a bowl (or use the colander that the beans have drained in) stir together the corn and beans. Scoop them into a layer across the Swiss chard mixture, pressing them down slightly.

adding cheese
A layer of cheese will help everything stick together, plus cheese tastes great.

Add cheese. We didn’t specify what type of cheese; we used Colby Jack cheese, which melts nicely, but just use a type of cheese that you like. Spread the cheese in a nice even layer across the bean and corn mixture.

adding crust
With a crust on top, it is definitely a pie — a savory pie.

Apply crust. If you’re using a crust, roll it into a rectangle about 9×13 inches — large enough to cover the pie. You have a couple of choices: you can cover the filling completely and cut a few slits in the top for venting, or you can roll it slightly smaller than 9×13 inches, leaving the edges of the filling exposed. We went with the latter.

Bake. Slide into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes; long enough that the crust is nicely brown and the filling is bubbling all around the edges.

letting the pie stand
We used puff pastry for our crust — you can see the layers — but any pie crust will be fine.

Stand. Let the pie stand for about 10 minutes to firm slightly before slicing and serving. It won’t be firm enough to make well-defined slices, but close.

We loved this dish, but, then, we think that beans and corn together is one of the best things you can make. We’ve read that the combination of beans and corn contain all essential amino acids, and we wonder if that’s why people think it’s so good, but really we have no idea. We just know that it makes for a great dish that makes for pretty much a complete meal. We’ll also point out that it’s good as leftovers, too, so don’t be alarmed if this is more than you eat at one meal. Five stars.

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