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Eggs in Purgatory

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling
Active time 10 mins
Total time 8 hrs, 30 mins

Serves 4 (serving size: 1/2 cup sauce, 2 eggs, and 1 cup spinach)

We're not entirely certain about the history of this classic recipe's name, but perhaps it has something to do with the spicy kick of the sauce. Our version is a shakshuka-like dish in which fiery harissa paste and heady spices slowly infuse a rich tomato sauce where eggs gently poach. Look for jars of harissa with the Middle Eastern foods in your supermarket; you can substitute a half to full teaspoon of crushed red pepper in a pinch. The cook time for the eggs depends on the specific heat of your slow cooker. We offer a range of 15 to 20 minutes, so start checking at 15 minutes (or a couple minutes earlier) to ensure the eggs get done to your liking. Serve with warm whole-wheat pita.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-oz.) can unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 (5-oz.) pkg. baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Nutrition Information

  • Calories 286
  • Fat 13.7 g
  • Satfat 3.7 g
  • Monofat 6.2 g
  • Polyfat 2.5 g
  • Protein 18 g
  • Carbohydrate 23 g
  • Fiber 7 g
  • Cholesterol 372 mg
  • Iron 4 mg
  • Sodium 604 mg
  • Calcium 121 mg
  • Sugars 7 g
  • Est. Added Sugars g

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft and spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

  2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, harissa, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on HIGH 20 minutes; reduce heat to LOW, and cook until sauce is fragrant, 7 1/2 to 8 hours (or cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours).

  3. One at a time, crack eggs into a ramekin, and slip into tomato sauce. (Do not stir.) Cover and cook on HIGH until whites are set and yolks are runny, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle eggs with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Divide spinach evenly among 4 plates; top with sauce and eggs. Sprinkle with cilantro.