When Food Network executives first approached Trisha Yearwood to do a cooking show last year, the singer had reservations. “I didn’t see myself on-camera, by myself, behind a counter, saying, ‘First add this, and then stir…” she explains. “But the few things I had done where I interacted with someone else on-camera were fun! I thought if I could have somebody to play off of, it wouldn’t be all about the recipes-it would be about the stories.”
With that in mind, Yearwood, 47, said yes and promptly recruited her sister Beth Yearwood Bernard, her uncle Wilson Paulk and his wife, Beth, to make regular appearances on her Food Network series Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, set to debut on April 14. “I couldn’t be happier with how the first few days have gone,” gushes the singer in between takes of a family reunion-themed episode. “It’s easy because the show is born out of the truth and our real-life experiences!”
For Yearwood, that means featuring recipes for down-home cooking (think Grandma Lizzie’s chicken and dumplings!) that she enjoyed as a child in her hometown of Monticello, Ga. “Cooking is a great way to tell our story,” she says. “It’s paying homage to where I came from.”
In fact, Yearwood sees the series itself as a tribute to her mother, Gwen, who collaborated with her on her two cookbooks and who passed away last fall after a long battle with cancer. “I learned to cook from her,” says Yearwood. “Having her baby brother here with me, my Uncle Wilson, is like having her here. It’s hard to describe, but it really is like she’s in the room with us. And this show is a tribute to all the things we shared.”
Now Yearwood hopes to share the same kind of experiences with the three daughters she has with husband Garth Brooks, 50. “The most important thing,” she says, “is to have that family history and to pass it down to the next generation.”
LIZZIE’S CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
Makes: 6 servings Hands-on time: 25 minutes Total time: 55 minutes
A note from Trisha: Canned chicken broth is fine here, but I also like to make chicken broth from scratch. The trick is choosing the right chicken. Use a hen for chicken stock. A hen is a mature chicken that produces eggs. A fryer is a younger, more tender chicken. Hens have more fat. Mama taught me that!
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup water
Salt and pepper
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1. Heat chicken broth to boiling in a 3-qt. saucepan.
2. Place flour in a large bowl; set aside. Dissolve salt in water in a small bowl; add mixture to flour, stirring until stiff dough forms.
3. Turn dough onto a heavily floured surface; knead 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Divide into 4 parts. Roll 1 portion with a heavily floured rolling pin until very thin, about 1/8-in. thick. Cut dough into 2-×4-in. strips.
4. Add strips to boiling broth. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Repeat process, returning broth to a boil before adding new dough strips.
5. Season with salt and pepper; add chicken to broth. Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley if desired.