Eggs in purgatory is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that we forget about for months at a time and then eat once a week or so when we remember how much we like it. I know that I’m not making traditional eggs in purgatory; I first saw an adaptation of the recipe in a magazine article about updated, healthier versions of classic favorites. I cooked from the adapted recipe and have since made further changes based on our personal preferences. If I understand correctly, the classic dish is not a lot more than eggs poached in spicy marinara. (Which sounds really good– I should try that sometime!) As with most of my favorite meals, it is versatile: use all sweet potato instead of the potato mix; add vegetables like celery, leeks, mushrooms or artichoke hearts based on what you have on hand or need to use up; increase spiciness, etc. I suppose you could add in ham or bacon if you wanted to, though we keep it vegetarian. We always have this for dinner but it would do equally well for a Sunday brunch, and it’s easy to make enough to feed a crowd if you have a large enough pan to cook extra eggs. I am posting my favorite, most often-made version and I hope you like it.
Eggs in Purgatory
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed or minced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (3/4 – 1 lb.)
- 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (1/2 lb.)
- 1 tsp. berbere (optional)*
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 c. vegetable stock
- 1 15. oz can (or equivalent) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 c. frozen peas
- salt to taste
- 4 eggs
In a deep skillet, heat the oil on medium-high; add onion and allow to cook for 5-6 mins. until soft. Add garlic, stir and cook for an additional minute. Add diced sweet and red potatoes, berbere, garlic powder and black pepper; mix to coat potatoes and onions with spice and cook for 1-2 mins. Add stock to the pan and stir again; cover and simmer for about 5 mins. Add canned tomatoes and their liquid and peas; stir, cover and cook for 15 mins., until potatoes are just cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings at this point. Make four wells in the bubbling mixture and crack an egg into each well; cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and allow the eggs to cook for about 6 mins. for over-medium or 8 mins. for over-hard. Serve with bread if desired.
*Berbere is a spice mix most often associated with east African cooking. It is quite spicy, similar to a chili powder but with more of a punch. If you don’t have it, you could substitute chili powder with a bit of cayenne, or leave it out altogether.