SOUTHERN FRIED TV

Judith Salkin – The Desert Sun

Paula Deen and the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, may want to look over their shoulders at the Food Network.

They’re about to be joined by country singer Trisha Yearwood.

Her show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” which debuted on Saturday, gives viewers another look at country cooking.

And the singer is hoping for a regular home for her pots and pans.

The six-episode run is “sort of a tryout,” Yearwood says from the Oklahoma home she shares with her husband, Garth Brooks, and his three daughters. “Hopefully people will like it and we’ll get picked up for a full season.”

Yearwood, 47, is a three-time Grammy Award winner who already has published two best-selling cookbooks — “Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” and “Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood.”

Family will figure prominently in the show.

“I don’t really like the idea of just standing there by myself and talking into the camera about what I’m doing,” she says. “It’s more fun when there’s someone in the kitchen with me.”

On some segments she’ll be joined by her sister, Beth Yearwood Bernard, or nephews, preparing dishes built around a theme, like a family dinner or picnic.

“It’s the way I grew up, cooking with my mom and sister in the kitchen,” the Georgia-born singer says. “It’s the way I wrote my books.”

Yearwood, Bernard and their late mother, Gwen, all worked on the recipe collections.

“You know when you’re all sitting around and talking about meals you’ve had as a family? We wanted to make sure those recipes didn’t get lost and the memories forgotten,” she says. “Like Uncle Wilson’s rib recipe or my dad’s Brunswick stew.”

The stew has special meaning for the family. “One day my mom, who was fighting cancer at the time, said she’d love to have a big bowl of dad’s stew,” Yearwood recalls.

“It was something he’d made up and he’d make it when we’d go camping. But he never wrote the recipe down.”

With only the memories of the dish, Yearwood began experimenting, “moving heaven and earth to re-create it.” “I didn’t know what I was doing, but it became so important to me,” she says. “I knew what it should taste like, and when I finally got it, my mom was so happy.”

The stew is at the heart of one segment of the show. “I have my sister’s boys in the kitchen for that one,” she says. “Teaching them to make the stew and telling stories about their granddad.”

There were some changes to the old recipes.

“With my mom’s illness, at 70, she decided that it was time to get back to eating healthy again and so we all worked on the recipes to make healthier but still have the same flavor,” Yearwood says.

The six episodes were shot in Nashville, where Yearwood has a home.

“It was not shot in my kitchen in Nashville,” Yearwood says. “My cooktop’s against the wall and all the audience would see is my backside, and that’s not what they want to see on a cooking show.”

The production team found a kitchen that would work for the initial shoot and rented the house.

“I’m really hoping we do get picked up,” she says. “Because it would give me a good reason to redo my kitchen, like I need one.”

Country Quiche

Serves 16

1 pound ground pork sausage with sage

1 teaspoon baking powder

20 grape tomatoes, sliced in half and sprinkled with salt

6 large eggs

10 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2½cups)

Salt and pepper

Two 9-inch unbaked frozen pie shells (set them out to thaw while preparing the other ingredients)

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook sausage until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the baking powder, tomatoes and eggs together. Add the cooked sausage and the cheese to the egg mixture and stir together with a large spoon. Add salt and pepper and divide the mixture between both unbaked pie shells. Bake until filling is set, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cook’s notes: To lighten up this quiche, use turkey sausage and egg substitute.

Garth likes this quiche with cheese tortellini. If you add tortellini, cover with egg or the pasta will burn when the quiche bakes.

Recipe adapted from “Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood” Clarkson Potter, 2010

Uncle Wilson’s Grilled Onions

Serves 12

6 large sweet white onions, such as Vidalia

12 strips bacon

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

Instructions: Peel and wash the onions. With the point of a small, sharp knife, cut a 1-inch core from the top of each onion and make shallow slits in a circle around the top. Wrap 2 slices of bacon horizontally around each onion, and secure them with toothpicks. Then put 1 teaspoon of butter in each core. Season with salt and pepper.

Place each onion on a square of aluminum foil and bring the edges together at the top, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Put the foil-wrapped onions on the grill and cook for 1 hour, or until the onions are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. You can also bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool the onions for a few minutes then unwrap and cut into quarters to serve.

Recipe adapted from “Georgia Cooking from an Oklahoma Kitchen”