The Chopping Hack You Need To Get More Flavor From Breakfast Strata

A breakfast strata is a great choice for the first meal of the day. The layers of bread, cheese, and meat are soaked in a rich egg custard, then baked until puffy and golden brown, according to The Pioneer Woman. Think of a strata as a type of stuffing, but with more cheese (and, frankly, more flavor). 

Still, some breakfast stratas can be boring. So, how can you make your strata better? More bread? Different kinds of cheese? A varied combination of herbs? The answer is adding caramelized onions.

But making caramelized onions can take up to 45 minutes. Why add such a long, complicated step to a recipe that's simple and easy to put together? The answer is flavor — there's no flavor like properly caramelized onions. They're sweet and intense and rich and will elevate any recipe you add them to. And there's a simple chopping hack that can have them ready in about 10 minutes.

Dice those onions

You can speed up the caramelization process by dicing the onions instead of slicing them, per The Washington Post. When onions are diced, they cook and caramelize faster. 

You may have seen tips about slicing onions pole-to-pole, rather than through the equator, to speed up caramelization, as America's Test Kitchen suggests. That cuts the time on the stove from 45 minutes to about 20 — it's faster, but still a bit for a simple dish. When you dice the onion, conversely, you can have beautifully browned and caramelized onions in about 10 minutes.

Dicing the onions isn't the only trick for better caramelization, either. Cook the onions over medium-high heat, which is higher than the typical recommended temperature for this task, The Washington Post advises. Stir the onions often so they don't burn; don't walk away from the pan. Then add some wine, which adds sugar to the mixture without being overly sweet, suggests The Washington Post. It's those sugars that coax the most caramel flavor and color out of the onions.

Make the most flavorful strata

Now that you can make perfect caramelized onions in minutes, choose your strata recipe. One of the nice things about this type of recipe is that it's so tolerant — you can make changes and it will still be delicious, per The New York Times. Change the bread, use your favorite type of cheese, add more than one kind of cooked meat, or change up the herbs. 

The only things that needs to stay constant are the eggs and milk custard — and the caramelized onions, of course. You can add anywhere from two tablespoons to 1/2 cup of the browned onions to each recipe depending on your taste. The remainder will freeze beautifully, according to McCormick

Try making a breakfast strata casserole recipe, but use caramelized onions in place of green onions. You could also try a slow cooker overnight breakfast casserole recipe. Whatever dish you make, after one bite, you'll always use these quick and easy caramelized onions.