Kitchen Catastrophe 16 - Eggs In Purgatory


Why hello there! And welcome to Kitchen Catastrophes! I’m your host and guide through the Seven Layers of Dip, Jon O’Guin. Some of our vegetarian fans have complained of our recent string of meat-based misadventures. Our vegan fans also tried to complain, but I’m actually genetically incapable of hearing them. But, as a man who must, from time to time, reflect on the economic and environmental impact of the meat industry, I reminded myself that the occasional vegetarian dish is both morally rewarding, and can be equally filling. Also, since salt and fat = flavor, it’s just genuinely more challenging to make universally appealing vegetarian dishes, which is a factor that’s been known to motivate me.

I decided to take it in baby steps, and still rely on a protein for this dish: EGGS.  If you just want a solid breakfast recipe, skip my insane ramblings, and jump straight to the recipe HERE. If, like so many before you, you’re lured in by my siren song of madness, let’s get to the JOKES.

Hell, What’s the Difference?

Eggs in Purgatory  is actually well known for one important facet: Its name makes no goddamn sense. See, Uovo en Purgatorio is a recipe for eggs in a bold, spicy red sauce. Which makes perfect sense for Eggs in Hell, but not for Purgatory, which is, by most accounts, while not a pleasant place, not nearly as bad as Hell. The punishment for Greed in Hell* is to roll great weights with your chest, slamming them endlessly in a grim parody of a joust, as those who hoarded their wealth assault those who squandered it, and the latter return the insult. In Purgatory*, you lay face-down on the ground, doing a call and response prayer.  Hell’s a never-ending overbooking of assholes at the Crossfit gym, Purgatory’s the least exciting pep rally in existence.

(* - At least, according to Dante. And in reference to the Christian Hell. There’s plenty of other depictions of other Hells, but Christianity’s is mostly referred to as “Fire” until Dante got so lost while hiking that a dead poet had to lead him through Hell to get him home**. (** -Jon’s interpretation of the Divine Comedy is non-standard among literature analysts.))

Seriously, though: This is the opening of Inferno. “I got lost in the woods.”

My personal guess? The sauce is good, but it’s not really very spicy (As past posts note, however, my taste buds have been seared more than a ninety-year old cast-iron pan, so take that as you will). So while, yeah, it’s bold enough to draw comment, it’s not hot enough to be called Hell. So they ended up calling it after the second best version of Hell they had. Feel free to insert joke about a regional squalid/sinful metropolis here. (“If the dish had been made in the 1930’s, it would have been called ‘Eggs a la Chicago’!”, asa freebie. Though, really “Two Eggs, Capone-style” just sounds better. The red represents Murder!)

Now, sometimes, when I cook something for one of these posts, I go in with a strategy. A recipe from a cookbook catches my eye, and I decide “That’s what I’ll make. “ Sometimes, I just happen to take a picture of a meal I’m making, and then another, and then something goes wrong, and now I know I’ll have to start researching the meal I’m making so I can make a couple jokes. But MOST OFTEN, the process for what recipes I pick goes like this: “Alright, I’ve finished writing this post. What should I cook next week? “ I tend to go with whatever my first impulse is. “Figgy Pudding, it’s nearly Christmas.”/ “whatever Mom and Dad want Wednesday.”/ “RECIPE WHOSE NAME I RECENTLY HEARD, AND THOUGHT WAS COOL.” This recipe falls into the last camp. When it comes time to make foods I picked essentially at random like that, I read about five or six recipes to get the general thrust of the concoction, and then select one that appeals to whatever metric I decided to use similarly at random.

Pictured: Jon’s guiding lights.

Don’t Know Much about History, Don’t Know Much Biology, But I Do Know How to Cook

If you don’t come here for the jokes about 700 year old epic poems or 56 year old pop songs, I don’t know why you come here at all.

Now, I wish I could tell you that creating this recipe was fraught with embarrassing drops, messes, forgotten ingredients, and other humorous paraphernalia of my failures, but I have to be honest: the biggest issue was that there wasn’t fresh garlic for the recipe. Seriously, my greatest issue in making this dish was the need to substitute a teaspoon of pre-minced garlic for garlic I was supposed to mince on my own.

And when your problem is indistinguishable 45 seconds after it happens, it’s not a problem. Unless your problem is premature ejaculation.

Other than that little hiccup, the recipe went off without a hitch. I will say, however, that it was a little trippy to watch. See, I assume, like me, most of you haven’t had to deal with cooking eggs in resistant mediums. By which I mean you’re used to watching a raw egg spread out when frying in oil, or blending it into a mixture, or something of that nature. You’ve watched eggs act like a liquid. You can get a little of what I’m alluding to if you poach an egg: the egg white spreads out some, but as long as the water isn’t at a rolling boil, it won’t go too far. With this recipe, once you’ve sautéed the garlic, you heat up tomatoes, to generate liquid and flavor. And then you just crack the eggs into the hot tomato mess. It’s weird to look at, I’ll tell you.

As you gaze into Purgatory, the Eggs gaze back into you.

And then you slap a lid on the pan, and leave the whole ensemble be for five minutes. Oh, yeah, that’s another part of the appeal of Eggs in Purgatory: as well as being a tasty vegetarian meal, it takes, start to finish, somewhere around 15 minutes to finish. The biggest factor in time is how reduced and broken down you want the tomato sauce. Some recipes start with crushed whole tomatoes, and simmer 20 minutes; me, I took a can of diced tomatoes, and just went for 5 to 6. (I know some readers will be upset that I wrote out five at the start of the paragraph, but used the numeral just now, and my only response is: neener neener neener. Also, that’s technically how standard style handles it.) But yeah, this is a quick little recipe. In just over the length of time a standard commercial break lasts, your pan will have cooked up the eggs, and they’ll look like this:

Liked cooked eggs, funnily enough.

At this juncture, all you do is grab a ladle, or a big spoon, and find something to scoop the eggs out onto. Some people use a slice of toasted Italian bread, others just spoon them onto a plate or bowl, and use a slice of toast to mop up the yolk and tomato sauce (in case the cook time didn’t tell you, the yolk of your eggs should still be mostly liquid when you scoop the eggs out). However, I went a step farther. Or rather, deeper, into my own siren song of madness.

One particular trick of my brain that I feel like is slightly more prevalent or obvious with me than others is what I jokingly call “Multi-thread processing” after the computer term. That is, that at any given point, I’m likely thinking about two to three other things, not simply in the sense that I may be preoccupied, but closer to…a sort of mental echo chamber, I guess. For instance, you and I might be talking about our weekend plans, and I am paying attention to that conversation. But at the same time, a sentence you said three minutes ago has caused a song to be stuck in my head. And the last time I heard that song was in a Daily Show clip, so I’m thinking about the clip, the song, and our current conversation, all simultaneously. However, it’s of course not a limitless process, so I often end up realizing that I’m chuckling at the clip, and now you’re looking at me weird, and I can’t explain that I was doing three different mental things at once and dropped the ball, so I tend to jump to a similar thing, claiming I ‘just remembered’ or ‘you made me think of’ something with your LATEST comment.

All of this is to explain to you that I put my eggs on Everything Bagels, because I think that’s really what you would get if you ordered “Two Eggs, Capone –style”: poached eggs in a tomato sauce on everything bagels.  Though, you might get more of a sort of Eggs Benedict thing, with an everything bagel, a layer of hot Italian beef, the egg, and then a red sauce with some more pickled banana peppers or something… Though from some preliminary research, he liked Spaghetti with a toasted Walnut sauce, so maybe something like that for the Hollandaise equivalent…

He’ll be stuck like that for a while. Just, hang out and look at the picture till he comes back, yeah?

...And then we’ll know once and for all who’s lying. Oh god, you’re still here.


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Eggs in Purgatory
Serves 1-2


  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • ¼  tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 14 oz can tomatoes, undrained *
  • 2 eggs
  • Grated parmesan to taste (start with 3 tsp, add more later)
  • Bread or other starch to serve.

*- Now, several recipes I consulted add basil and oregano to the sauce. I debated doing so, but ended up skipping it because I had a can of diced tomatoes with basil and oregano. So if you use a less flavorful can of tomatoes, maybe add a couple ½ tsps. of dried herbs.


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Then add garlic and red pepper flakes. Heat until garlic is softened, about 1 minute.
  2. Add can of tomatoes with liquid, and salt to pan. Stir occasionally, bringing to a heavy simmer.
  3. Crack 1 egg into a separate bowl (don’t want eggshells in the sauce), and then gently pour into sauce. Repeat with other egg, ensuring egg white don’t touch. Sprinkle 3 tsp Parmesan over eggs. Cover and simmer 5-6 minutes, until whites are set and yolk is still runny.
  4. Scoop eggs from sauce, onto whatever service you’re serving them on. Scoop some of the sauce over the eggs, and serve, adding salt, pepper, and Parmesan to taste.