If you haven’t checked out Kachina Southwestern Grill in the Westminster Westin yet, you’re definitely missing out on one of the tastiest southwestern food experiences in Colorado – maybe even the Midwest.
Since I’ve never suggested a restaurant as much as I have this one, I want to prove its brilliance. Not only have I brought you an easy recipe that you can make to impress your dinner party, but it’ll also help you out when you’re deciding where to go on your next date night or girls’ night out adventure.
I headed to Kachina last week to get an overview of this recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Chef Patrick Hartnett that I would actually be making it with my own hands. And let me tell you…I’m not the best cook, hence the “Learning” part of this column. But this dish is so delicious and so flavorful that I was so excited to share it, especially because of its simplicity. So here you are. Don’t get too cocky when it turns out incredible.
Make: Quinoa Corn Pudding (12 servings)
2 ½ lbs fresh corn
2 lbs dried/dehydrated corn
6 ½ oz roasted poblano peppers, chopped
4 oz roasted anahiem peppers, chopped
1 oz roasted fresno chiles, chopped
1 c yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp green chili powder
2 lbs quinoa, cooked
3 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yokes
2 c heavy cream
2 c milk
1 tbsp salt
14 medium to large dried cornhusks
Tip #1: If you want to roast your own chiles, lay the raw chile across your stovetop burner and turn frequently until each side is grilled. Let them cool, then cut the top off, gently scrape off the skin, and scrape out the seeds.
Cook dried corn, milk, and cream at a simmer for ten minutes. Let cool, then puree mixture. Combine milk-corn mixture with eggs and cooked quinoa, and then set aside. Cook fresh corn, chiles, and onions in oiled skillet for about five minutes. Combine with milk-corn and quinoa mixture. Place finished mixture in greased baking dish and cook at 350° for about 30 minutes, covered with foil. Remove from oven and let cool. When cooled, scoop 1-2 tbsp into a cornhusk that’s been soaked in warm water. After placing pudding in the cornhusk, rip another cornhusk into strips used to tie each end of the stuffed husk. When ready to serve, reheat the pudding in a stovetop steamer for about five minutes.
Tip #2: For dessert, you can make another batch of the milk-corn mixture, add sugar and a little salt, and throw the mixture in your ice cream maker! It ends up being creamy, sweet, and a tad bit savory ice cream dish.
Once the pudding is steamed in the husk, serve it immediately. It will taste just a bit spicy, but it’ll also have a sweet flavor from the corn. You want to use both fresh and dried corn, Chef Patrick says, because you don’t want the dish to be too starchy. You can use these tasty little cornhusks as an appetizer, or you can eat them as a main dish. They fill you up enough to act as a main course, while also being small enough to add them to another southwestern favorite.
Order: I don’t want to give you too much information about this because it’s something you have to try for yourself. But when you go to Kachina Southwestern Grill next, make sure you order from the “corn kart.” Does that intrigue you? I hope it does, because the smoked salts and flavored butters are worth everything scream-worthy bite.
Lindsay is a California native who loves leather bags, killer heels and a bright shade of long-lasting lipstick. She’s always on the lookout for a great guy in skinny jeans, but puts her independence and writing first, traveling to some of the best hotspots in Denver and all over the world looking for a good lede.