A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason feel free to stir your own ideas into this dish. When you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don’t like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own!
1. Stir salt, honey and water together until salt has dissolved.
2. Place brining solution into a picnic cooler or container large enough to hold the turkey and brine. If using a cooler you’ll need 3 or 4 freezer packs to keep it cool.
3. Put turkey into the brine and either cover it with the freezer packs and close lid, or place container into a refrigerator. Leave to brine overnight.
For the Roast Turkey:
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Take turkey out of brine, rinse and pat dry with a towel. Tie legs together with butcher’s twine.
3. Assemble carrots, celery, onion and garlic into a roasting pan to form a rack for the turkey to rest on. Place turkey onto the vegetable rack and then place in oven. Roast for 15 minutes at 500 degrees, and then turn oven down to 325 degrees without opening the door. Roast for 20 minutes per pound, or until an internal thermometer reaches 165 degrees.
4. When finished, take out of oven and place on a platter to rest for at least 20 minutes. Cover with foil to keep warm.
For the Gravy:
1. Take vegetable rack out of roasting pan and discard. Skim off any fat and reserve the turkey juices in a glass-measuring cup.
2. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and then pour in wine to deglaze, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
3. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir until it is smooth.
4. Pour turkey juices back into the pan and bring to a simmer. Add cornstarch mixture while stirring and continue to stir until thickened.