We spoke to the country music superstar about all things cooking.
When Martina McBride is asked how her second cookbook differs from her first, her answer is simple: “It’s better.” Between publications, the country music star says she has evolved in the kitchen. We spoke with McBride about Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life, expanding into new territory, and cooking’s presence in her life.
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On evolving as a cook:
The “Independence Day” singer says she’s grown as a cook over the last few years. For example: She used to be intimidated by cooking fish because she grew up in Kansas, far from fresh seafood. Martina’s Kitchen Mix, though, has recipes for both halibut and salmon.
Her cooking has recently become healthier and more plant-based, she adds, but there are still decadent desserts in the new book.
“I think it’s better mix of recipes,” she explains. “This book is more balanced in a way. For me, it’s all about moderation.”
On having fun in the kitchen:
For McBride, cooking is more than the sum of its ingredients.
Music and food have something important in common, the way McBride sees it--they’re both about sharing. Whether she’s sharing recipes with her family or songs with her fans, she approaches them with an equal sense of creativity.
“It’s important to experiment,” McBride says. “I used to be the kind of cook who was focused on following recipes to the letter. But making a change, adding an ingredient, that’s when it starts to get fun.”
She thinks experimenting is so important, in fact, she’s included “ad libs,” or possible variations, on many of the recipes.
“I really want to encourage readers to make these their own,” she says.
Longtime fans of McBride know how important family is to the singer. It will come as no surprise, then, that Martina’s Kitchen Mix is packed with references to her husband, children, parents, and grandparents.
One of the most personal photos in the book shows her grandmother’s cutting board, inscribed with a “kitchen prayer.”
“My grandma had this in her kitchen and from about the age of 6 or 7 I would read from it, as our prayer, before each meal,” McBride writes in the book. “When I moved away she gave it to me and it’s been in every one of my kitchens since.”
That same grandmother had a hand in inspiring McBride’s passion for making food.
“She was always cooking, it seemed like to me as a kid,” McBride says. “Always being around that and seeing her make everything from scratch--that was definitely a huge influence on me.”
Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life will be available on October 30. You can pre-order the book now.
How to Make Martina McBride’s Pot Roast with Gravy:
“I love to make this pot roast,” McBride says about the family recipe she holds dear. “It was handed down from my mom and we have it on special occasions. When the girls come home from Los Angeles, that’s what they want me to make. It’s just one of those things where you have to put a lot of time and love in it. It’s comfort food to me.”Serves 8, Hands-On Time: 25 minutes, Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes Ingredients:
- 1 (4-pound) chuck roast
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 ½ beef broth
- 3 onion slices
- 3 green bell pepper slices
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Season the roast with salt and pepper. Rub the entire roast with the garlic, tucking into the roast’s nooks and crannies as you go.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Sear the roast 4 minutes on each side or until browned all over. (This is the key to great flavor!) Pour the beef broth over the roast and top with alternating slices of onion and green bell pepper to cover the top of the roast. Cover and cook over low until the meat is tender, about 3 ½ hours.
- Discard the onion and green pepper slices. Move the cooked roast to a serving platter. Reserve ½ cup pan juices; whisk in the cornstarch until smooth. Heat the juices remaining in the pan over medium-high. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture and cook over medium-high, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Slice the roast, and serve with the pan gravy.
"I go back and forth between using flour and cornstarch for the gravy," McBride writes. "I have done both. If you decide to use flour, or if you have no cornstarch on hand, make a slurry with the flour and a mixture of warm water (not too hot) and a bit of the cooking juices, slightly cooled. Pour this mixture slowly into the liquid in the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened. Serve this gravy over mashed potatoes for a little piece of heaven."