Cooking with Pinot Noir or any wine is relatively simple and inexpensive despite elevated prices for dishes at restaurants serving a type of meat with a wine sauce. There are a few rules to go through before getting into the functions of wine with cooking. First, you should never use cooking wine because it is heavily salted to keep people from drinking it. Next, do not cook with a wine that you would not drink. It does not matter if it is red, white or Marsala wine. Finally, buying really expensive wine makes little to no difference in how the dish will turn out in the end. Below, there are four ways to cook with wine.

Use It as a Marinade Ingredient

A marinade is made up of oil, acid, herbs and spices, and the combinations are endless. It tenderizes the meat you are cooking while keeping it moist and imparting flavor. Everything except the oil will add some level of flavor to the protein. The role of wine in a marinade is to be an acid, which is the tenderizer. Since it adds flavor, you should always pair red with beef and white with pork and chicken.

Substitute the Cooking Liquid

Wine can be used to cook meat and vegetables for certain cuts of meat. You can either use it as part of a braising liquid for stew or certain soups. Again, pair red wine with red meat like beef, rabbit, lamb or venison, and white with chicken and pork. There are some rare exceptions for cross overs like Coq au Vin, which is a French dish of chicken that is braised in a red wine, pork fat, mushrooms and garlic. The wine that is used in this dish is typically Pinot Noir, such as the kind that Chankaska Winery produces.

Make a Wine Reduction for Sauces

Typically, to make an easy yet tasty sauce, you would sear a piece of meat in a pan to add color and kill surface bacteria, remove it from the pan to finish in the oven and add wine to the pan to deglaze it and remove the meat particles from the bottom. Once the wine has reduced, which means the alcohol has cooked out, and it thickens a little, you finish the sauce with the proper ingredients. The wine reduction is the base of the sauce, so it will add the essence of its flavor but not overpower the other ingredients. Again, red wine goes with red meat, white with chicken, pork or fish and Marsala can go with beef or chicken only when making sauces. If you want to serve a nice wine with your dish, you can use a bit of it to deglaze the pan.

Using Wine to Make Cheese

This is special and takes a great deal of skill. First, you have to know how to make basic cheeses before attempting it. Once you have honed your cheese making skills, you can take a crack at making cheese with Port wine. Also, if you are interested in fun facts, Port wine is also used in elaborate French dishes when it is gelatinized.

Wine serves so many important functions in cooking. If you can successfully incorporate it into your cooking arsenal, people will marvel at your food. They never have to know how cheap and easy it is.