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Eggs in Purgatory: Pretty Good Actually

March 20, 2010

One of the things I most enjoy about cooking is finding something new that can join my list of tried-and-true recipes.

Last year, I made one of Ina Garten’s recipes for a creamy tomato basil soup. I love it. I’ve made it numerous times since. It is, officially, a tried-and-true recipe.

But even recent additions to the tried-and-true collection need to be shaken up every once in a while. In the case of tomato basil soup, the leftovers have become the perfect base for making eggs in purgatory.

Eggs in Purgatory: Pretty good actually...

For those of you not so familiar with eggs in purgatory, they’re delicious.

Basically, you poach eggs in a tomato sauce. The tastier the tomato sauce, the tastier the dish. Once poached, you dish the eggs up over sliced bread, top it with some grated cheese and enjoy.

If you google the recipe, you’ll find several versions of it. However, I have to credit a Jill Santopietro New York Times video blog for my discovery of this dish. Her recipe isn’t much like mine though. Her tomato sauce (a ragu, I think) is way more complicated than any egg dish I’m likely to ever make. Plus, she used polenta as the base, not bread.

Huh. You know, now that I write this, I wonder how in the heck I got from Jill’s recipe to mine. I’m sure google is to blame. Or maybe it’s my faulty memory. Nah. Former, not the latter. Friends will attest to my scary memory abilities, despite the current ramblings.


After having made up a big batch of tomato basil soup recently, I wound up on a eggs-in-purgatory eating spree in order to make creative use of my soup thanks to a combination of cruddy winter weather, long days at the office and a craving for eggs.

As a result, eggs in purgatory have, apparently, joined my tried-and-true recipe collection, which of course means I had to mix things up.

In this case, I remixed my recipe by using more kitchen leftovers.

Having recently made a lasagna, I had some leftover bolognese sauce and ricotta mixture that simply wouldn’t fit in the lasagna pan without causing an overflow situation. I combined the bolognese and tomato soup, and poached the eggs in the mixture. For those who’ve not tried this before, you’ll need to stir the sauce around the eggs every once in a while so that the eggs cook properly. And don’t worry if the egg white spread out. They’ll be fine. Also, it doesn’t hurt to spoon a bit of the sauce over the top of the eggs to make sure they’re cooked to your liking.

While the eggs cooked, I spread the ricotta mixture on lightly toasted Italian bread from Whole Foods. When cooked to my liking, I spooned the eggs and tomato sauce on top of the bread and ricotta. To finish the dish, I topped the whole mess with fresh-grated parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

Et voila. I really enjoyed this version of eggs in purgatory. Unfortunately, I’m sure it’ll be a while before I repeat this particular version of it since its creation was thanks to a mish-mash of leftovers. That’s okay though. It will live on in my memory. Heck, its memory might even spur me on to try to make Jill’s version. (ha!)

At this point, you may be wondering about the recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t really have one.

But that’s the beauty of eggs in purgatory. It doesn’t need a recipe. It’s an egg dish. In my world, egg dishes are supposed to be relatively stress free.

So try your own combinations. For example, when I don’t have leftover soup, I poach the eggs in a can of Hunt’s Fire-Roasted Tomatoes*. And Ro*Tel* would likely be a fun option too. And, now that I’ve revisited Jill’s video blog, I may try making these with a base of grits or even some polenta instead of bread.

We shall see though. After all, that’s the fun of experimenting in the kitchen … and not getting burned.

*My company, ConAgra Foods, makes both Hunt’s and Ro*Tel. For more info, visit my disclosure page.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    March 23, 2010 12:24 pm

    Hey Steff – Your blog is really rad and exactly the kind of blog I want to read instead of doing work. Read this post yesterday and thought about those eggs all day. I think I’ll try my hand at it! Keep it up, and thanks for the link!

    Susan (from Marthable)

    • March 23, 2010 8:06 pm

      Susan – Thank you so much! I feel the same about your blog. The crazy mercury glass project has been haunting and taunting me.

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