As promised, here is part two of our interview with Grammy-winning country artist Trisha Yearwood. Here Trish shares her thoughts on growth, loss and the holidays. And she gave us a fantastic recipe for turkey and dressing casserole!
The holidays are a mixed bag for many of us. It’s wonderful to get together, but some of us may be dealing with loss. What are your thoughts about that?
My mom died in October two years ago, pretty close to Christmas. That first Christmas, I just didn’t want to be festive. So we went to California and spent a few days in Malibu–it was a completely different setting. There was just no rule about what it had to be. Last year, I really wanted to celebrate Christmas because I do love it. On November 8, my mom’s birthday, Garth put Christmas lights all around the house. That was a really cool thing.
The challenging experiences in life mold you, but in a good way.
Garth and the girls are really special. How do you manage time for your busy career and time for them?
When Garth and I got married, almost eight years ago, we were at a place in our careers where we didn’t have to be gone all the time. He had retired from touring but I hadn’t. But I didn’t want to be gone 100 days out of the year. Why be together to be apart? Garth was the one who said, “You just have to make things work for your life.” And we have worked hard as a couple to prioritize family time. That’s why I wrote my first cookbook, it was something I could do at home. When the Food Network wanted me to do a show, I said, “I can’t be away from home a lot.” So they said, “Ok, we’ll come to Oklahoma.” We shoot the program five miles down the road.
What do you want your legacy to be?
The highest compliment I can receive is when someone says, “I knew your mother and father and I see them in you.” I don’t have the goal of being in history books and someone going, “Look what Trisha Yearwood did for the world.” I want to impact the people around me in a positive way, to be true to myself and the people I care about.
And that has been a process. I spent a lot of years as a younger woman changing my personality depending on who I was with. That’s why I’d rather be 49 than 29. At this age, you become accepting of who you are and you enjoy your life so much more.
What’s your definition of confidence?
It’s trusting yourself. Early on, if I got feedback that wasn’t 100% positive, I’d feel like breaking down and crying. I had to work hard on being a little tougher and believing in my decisions. I was lucky, everyone from my producer, to the record label asked me what I wanted to see happen with my records. I knew what kind of artist I was and what kind of music I wanted to sing. I didn’t say, ‘I’ll sing whatever you want me to, and you can dress me how you think is best.’ I’ve never recorded a song or put a photograph on a record cover that I didn’t love. Now I can say, ‘All the decisions that got me here, good or bad, are mine. Some of them were great and some of them weren’t, but this is who I am because of them.’
I think it’s harder for new artists nowadays. There’s a lot of emphasis on their image, and so much goes into that before they even release their first single. There’s more pressure and more expectation than there was for me.
Trisha’s Turkey and Dressing Casserole
1 whole bone-in, skin-on turkey breast, 5 to 7 pounds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
One 8-inch pan prepared cornbread (about 1 pound), crumbled
10 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup orange juice
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Rub the turkey breast with the butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Place the turkey skin-side-up in a large roasting pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Bake until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees F, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or about 15 minutes per pound.
Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut the breast into thick slices and set aside. Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup and skim off the fat (use the fat for gravy). You’ll need 2 to 3 cups of liquid for the dressing; supplement with chicken stock as needed.
In a very large bowl, mix together the crumbled cornbread, torn white bread and the cranberries. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the celery, carrots and onion and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the turkey pan juices and continue cooking until the vegetables are translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add the cooked vegetables to the bread mixture. Pour in the orange juice and 1 cup of the pan juices and mix well, using a sturdy spoon or your hands. Continue adding pan juices (or chicken stock) until the mixture is very moist, almost soupy.
Put the dressing in a 9-by-13-by-2-inch casserole dish. Lay the turkey slices on top of the dressing, using almost all of the meat (reserve the rest for gravy or leftovers). Cover the casserole and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature while the oven is heating. Bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. The dressing should be moist. If it appears to have dried out too much overnight, pour
another cup of turkey juice over it.