May 31, 2006

How to... Chop onions

It may sound simple but it's surprising how much of a meal some people make of chopping onions. Read this and (don't) weep!

It's amazing to me how many cooks don't know how to chop onions quickly. If your like me, I can't stand chopping onions because I cry the entire time. I've got some quick chopping tricks that I use to make the work go by faster.

And, if all else fails....go to a food processor. It will chop, dice, puree...whatever suits your fancy. And, you don't have to mess with the tears, cutting board, knives and clean-up.

There's no reason to peel a whole onion unless you're cutting it into rings or hollowing it out to stuff it. Keep what you don't need wrapped in film, and chop it when required.

To chop or dice a whole onion:
Lay it on its side and cut the pointed top end off first. This gives it a flat surface to stand it on while you cut it in half through the root end.

Peel the skin back towards the root, leaving it attached to make a 'handle' to hold on to while chopping.

Make straight, vertical cuts through the onion, taking the tip of the knife just to the root. Turn it sideways and cut in the other direction to produce a fine chop. The distance between cuts will determine how fine a dice you make.

To slice an onion, make the vertical cuts with the blade parallel to the root. This will give you a half-moon-shaped slice.

Happy chopping...

Now, a little recipe to give you some practice on your new onion chopping technique. This is also a great recipe for a quick family meal. Lots of protein for the little ones and easy on the pocket book.


1 pound ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
Dash crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups uncooked macaroni

Get a large pot of hot water heating and begin cooking the macaroni as per the directions on the macaroni package.

In a skillet, brown the ground beef in a tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Stir only infrequently so that the ground beef has an opportunity to brown.

In a large skillet, saute chopped onion with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the ground beef and lower the heat to medium. Add a dash of crushed red pepper. Add seasoned salt. Add celery seed. Add canned tomatoes. Add Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the drained and cooked macaroni and parsley. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

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