Eggs in Purgatory – Level up your breakfast, lunch, or dinner with poached eggs in a hearty delicious, and spicy herb-infused tomato sauce. A one-pan egg-xtravagant meal ready in just 20 minutes. Pair it with crusty bread or toast and you’ll have an incredible luscious meal. What an egg-xciting dish to start your day!
Oh, how I love eggs! Aside from being cheap and easy to cook, it is very nutritious because of its high protein, iron, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
There are so many ways to cook it, scrambled, sunny side up, boiled, and poached. It is also versatile, you can add it to almost any dish or make a dish out of it like Italian baked eggs.
So let’s talk about Eggs in Purgatory recipe.
What an interesting name for a dish, huh? So, I did my research before I came up with my version of it. I read that the eggs signify the souls trying to be saved from fire which happens to be the spicy tomato sauce.
Err, a little intense for a back story right? Well, all I know is that the eggs can’t be saved once I eat them. Haha!🤫
Background on the Dish
It is basically eggs in tomato sauce, also known as “Uova in Purgatorio” which originated from Naples, Italy. Widely known in the country because of its basic ingredients and simple cooking procedure. It has become a family staple dinner before because not only that it’s cheap but also a good source of protein.
Eggs in Purgatory vs Shakshuka
Although both are tomato egg recipes similar in ingredients and preparation, you can easily identify them by their herbs and spices added to them.
Eggs in Purgatory is usually spicy and has herbs like basil, oregano, and sometimes cheese. While Shakshuka has distinct flavors because of the spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Other versions include adding ground meat, sausage, anchovies, milk, heavy cream, and cheese.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
I used ground Italian sausage specifically because of its sweetness and distinct taste of fennel. It balances well with the sourness of the tomato sauce. You can also use regular sausage if you like.
The other ingredients needed are:
- olive oil
- ground Italian sausage
- minced garlic
- smoked paprika
- Italian seasoning (see my Homemade HERE)
- pepper flakes
- can of crushed tomatoes with juice
- freshly chopped parsley or cilantro
- salt and pepper
Crushed Tomatoes Substitution:
- You can use fresh tomatoes – slice them up and throw them in a food processor or blender. You may add tomato paste to thicken it. Pulse gently as to not make it into a tomato puree. If you are on a low-carb diet, this is the best option for you.
- Add tomato paste to a big can of tomato sauce according to your preferred sauce consistency.
- Spaghetti or pizza sauce
For Eggless or Vegan Version:
You can substitute the eggs with silken tofu or vegan feta cheese. Just follow the same cooking instructions replacing only the eggs.
Chickpea batter is also an option but I haven’t tried yet, so we’ll talk about more of that soon.
You can also experiment according to your taste, like adding spinach, different kinds of cheese (i.e. mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, etc.), olives, anchovies… The choices are endless.
Storing and Reheating Instructions
You can make the sauce ahead of time. Let it sit on the counter until it cools down before transferring it to an air-tight container.
It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to use it, just put the sauce in a pan and heat it until it boils. Add the eggs and cover the pan. Let it simmer until the eggs are cooked.
Or you can transfer the pan to the oven after adding in the eggs and bake for 5 minutes.
Wondering what to do with the leftovers? Transfer it to a dry and clean airtight container. It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 2 days. Because it contains eggs, it is best to heat it on a stove or bake it. It will be ready in about 5-10 minutes. The eggs tend to explode when heated in the microwave and you don’t want to see all that mess.
I like eating mine with bread. It’s like a simplified pizza with egg and it’s egg-xtremely delicious! But you can also pair it with the following:
Other Favorite Egg Recipes
How to Make Eggs in Purgatory
Gently pour the egg into the well. Repeat the same process with all the remaining eggs (crack eggs, make a well and add whole eggs).
Simmer over medium heat for about 10 or more minutes or until you have reached the desired doneness. For me, the yolks have to firm up, so I cook a little longer. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve immediately with, toast and avocado.
Eggs in Purgatory
- 2 tablespoon (28 ml) olive oil
- 1 pound (454 g) ground Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons (4 g) smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) Italian seasoning
- 1-2 teaspoons (2-4 g) pepper flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2-3 teaspoons (10 - 15 g) minced garlic
- 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes with juice
- 4-5 large eggs
- 1-2 tablespoons (4-8 g) freshly chopped parsley or cilantro, (I use cilantro here)
- Heat a large pot with the olive oil over medium heat, add in sausage, onions, paprika, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes and salt to taste. Use a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.
- Add minced garlic and continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and continue cooking stirring for about 2-3 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Crack one egg at a time in a small ramekin and then dig a small well with a spoon or spatula in the sauce.
- Gently pour the egg into the well. Repeat the same process with all the remaining eggs (crack eggs, make a well and add whole eggs).
- Simmer over medium heat for about 10 or more minutes or until you have reached the desired doneness. For me, the yolks have to firm up, so I cook a little longer. Sprinkle with cilantro.
- Serve immediately with, toast and avocado.
Tips & Notes:
- Use quality fresh eggs. The egg yolks tend to rupture if the eggs are not fresh. Fresher eggs yield better flavor.
- Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. Cold eggs will slow the cooking process because they will lower the temperature.
- You can poach your eggs directly to the sauce, separately, or fry it. Whatever works for you.
- If poaching directly to the sauce, dig a little well big enough to for the egg. Make sure that the sauce is really hot before putting the eggs. Cover the pan with a lid until the egg turned white and the yolks still a little runny. (or depending on how cooked/done you want your egg yolks)
- If poaching separately using water. Boil the water, turn off the heat to stop the water from boiling before dropping your egg. Move your bowl close that the edge touches the water then pour in the eggs. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the poached egg with a slotted spoon and dry the excess water before transferring it to the sauce. And if you are familiar with vinegar and plastic wrap technique, feel free to do it.
- To prevent small pieces of eggshells from falling accidentally into the sauce, crack the egg in a small bowl before pouring it into the sauce. So it will be easier to take out small shells.
- Don’t forget to season your eggs with salt and water.
- Use quality ingredients only.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. Please keep in mind that it is a rough estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary greatly based on the products used.