Simmering tomatoes, crispy chorizo, and fresh herbs envelop perfectly poached eggs for an easy and delicious one-skillet meal. A spicy take on traditional shakshuka, Eggs in Purgatory with Chorizo is the perfect dish for a savory brunch or quick dinner.
A spicy, savory egg dish
What are eggs in purgatory? It's such a funny name for a recipe! This dish is a savory egg one-pan meal that has a tomato base, herbs, and sometimes an added protein.
So why is it called eggs in purgatory? The "purgatory" part of the dish refers to the combination of deep red tomato sauce and spicy red pepper flakes that give the recipe a hot kick! My version also includes chorizo, a spicy sausage, just to make sure you feel that heat.
The history of this savory egg dish has sort of been lost. No one really knows where it came from, because there are a ton of different variations of the dish throughout different cuisines. Versions of this recipe are influenced by Mediterranean, the Middle East, and even Latin American cultures.
One of the most popular variations of this dish, called shakshuka, is popular in Israel and other parts of the Middle East. Traditional shakshuka has all the basics of Eggs in Purgatory with the addition of paprika, cumin, and red peppers.
Mexican eggs in purgatory with chorizo
My version has a little of everything. I've drawn from the Mediterranean addition of zucchini (for extra veggies), added chickpeas (the basic ingredient in hummus from Israel), and included a little Mexican spiciness with chorizo.
The chorizo packs an extra punch of umami flavor that this otherwise vegetarian dish lacks. I call for a fully cooked, lightly smoked chorizo that is highly seasoned, so there are layers of flavor within each bite–curing creates the savory umami flavor that is sometimes indescribable.
I really like Niman Ranch Chorizo if you can get your hands on it. Otherwise, choose another smoked and fully cooked chorizo from your market.
If you'd rather cut back on the heat in this dish, leave out chorizo and substitute it with your favorite sausage or ground meat. Don't knock it before you try it though, I think you might like it more than you think you will.
Both shakshuka and eggs in purgatory are simmered tomato and egg dishes. The difference in the recipes is typically the seasonings. Shakshuka is the milder of the two. Eggs in purgatory include fiery red pepper flakes and often anchovies.
Shakshuka: the base for this dish
Shakshuka is often eaten as an eggs-for-dinner dish–it's such an easy one pan meal! In Israel and North Africa, it's eaten as a breakfast food. You do you! I highly recommend it for any meal!
Shakshuka (roughly translated means "mixture") is a combo of tomatoes, onions, and spices with an egg, or eggs poached on top. I eat Shakshuka at my favorite Meditteranean restaurants here in New York and often crave the version from the Hummus Place, served with their fluffy soft pita bread and creamy hummus.
These eggs are super easy to make and you only need one pan (and I like skillets like this for shakshuka or eggs in purgatory)! One-pan meals are awesome, for obvious reasons, and I love them even more for the fact that I have a tiny New York City kitchen. Any space-saving and dishes-saving meals are my jam!
How to make it
- First, I crisp the chorizo in a skillet.
- I love the texture that it adds to this dish. Since all the other ingredients are super soft, the chorizo adds a different texture.
- Then, I remove the chorizo from the pan and add the aromatics (onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes).
- After the onion is soft, I add the other vegetables, tomatoes, and water. Add that chorizo back in and bring everything to a nice simmer.
- Now comes the fun part. Crack four eggs into their little tomato sauce hot tub and let them simmer until the whites are cooked but the eggs are still runny, cook about four minutes.
What to serve with eggs in purgatory
The absolute best way to eat this dish is with a slice of sourdough, toasty bagel, warm pita, or other crusty bread. You can soak up all the yummy tomato and runny egg yolk goodness. If you don't have any bread, that's totally fine! You can just eat it with a fork too.
If you're making this dish for breakfast, you could serve it with a yummy smoothie! Here are a few of my favorite smoothie recipes:
The best egg dishes for brunch
I have a lot of favorite egg dishes. Most of them include bread soaked in eggs. Haha! I love my carbs. But seriously, a good strata can't be beat.
If you're looking for more dishes to serve at your next get-together, any of these will be a hit.
Savory Bacon Mushroom Strata is a unique egg bake that will make everyone happy.
Southwest Frittata with Black Beans is a protein-packed breakfast.
Raspberry French Toast Strata claims most popular on the blog.
Eggs in Purgatory with Chorizo
- 1 pkg fully cooked Chorizo sausage (4 links)
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1½ cups yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tsps dried oregano
- 1 cup zucchini cut into ¼-inch half moons
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups (16 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 4 large eggs
- Fresh parsley
- Cut sausages into half–inch rounds. In a large (12-inch) sauté pan with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté sausage until crispy, flipping half-way through, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.
- Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until onion is soft, 5 minutes. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the same pan.
- Add the oregano, zucchini and chickpeas to the pan and cook until zucchini has softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the crisped sausage back to the pan and top with the chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and ½ cup of water. Bring everything to a simmer.
- Crack four eggs into the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for 4 minutes if you like your eggs runny. Increase your cook time by a minute if you like the yolks more set. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Day-Starters: Breakfast & Brunch Recipes
About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Recipe in collaboration with Erika Joyce. Written by Lindsay Steel and Tara Teaspoon. Photography by Ty Mecham.
The name alone is reason to make this recipe!! lol
We loved it. We're a spicy family with a love of all hot and zippy spices, sauces and ingredients. Loved how healthy it was. We'll definitely have this in our weekend breakfast rotation.
So delicious! A total hit at my house.
Betsy Carney says
My kids loved this and so do I! Such a fun name and even more delicious recipe!
Aaron Scott says
Love SHAKSHUKA. Makes me miss Taboon on 53rd and 10th in Hell's Kitchen.
Tara Teaspoon says
Lots of great places to get it in NY!
I made this dish last weekend and it brought me back to Mexico. Sunday brunch with friends on sunny patios - even though this was inspired by Middle Eastern traditional dishes. I think it's the kick of the spices. delicious! An easy, new addition to weekend breakfasts.
Jenseena Cook says
This was AMAZING!!! The different textures was great and the flavor was pleasantly surprising! I loved the spice!! It was really colorful and beautiful as well as filling. Perfect in every way!