Eggs in Purgatory

eggs in purgatory

This recipe is an excellent hangover cure! Eggs in Purgatory go by many names and boast many adaptations. Essentially eggs that are poached in a thick, robust tomato sauce, then generously smeared over or dipped with torn pieces of toast or baguette, they are the epitome of effortless-to-make meets ethereal-to-eat. I’ve seen assorted versions of Eggs in Purgatory on brunch menus everywhere from New York City to San Francisco, but it’s so easy and affordable to make at home that there’s no need to eat out to try them.


  • 1⁄2 cup farro or barley (Farro, an Italian grain loaded with fiber, also goes by the name emmer. Barley or even brown rice also make fine substitutes.)
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 1⁄2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 eggs


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the farro or barley and cook for about 20 minutes, until just tender. Drain.
  2. While the grains cook, heat the olive oil in the largest cast-iron skillet or sauté pan you have.
  3. Cook the pancetta until lightly browned, then add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes, until the onions are softened.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and the farro or barley and simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly reduced. Season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Use the back of a large serving spoon to make 8 small wells in the sauce.
  6. Crack an egg into each well.
  7. Cook over low heat for about 7 minutes, until the whites set but the yolks are still runny.
  8. You can use your fork to break up the whites so they cook more quickly.
  9. Serve with whole-wheat toast for scooping up the sauce.