Eggs In Mordor (Eggs in Purgatory Recipe)

Eggs in Mordor is a simple dish forged by poaching eggs in a spicy tomato sauce that is hotter than Mount Doom. In places outside of Middle Earth, such as Southern Italy, this dish is often referred to as "eggs in purgatory." This dish is similar to Shakshuka, which is native to Northern Africa.

This recipe can be used for brunch, lunch, or a light dinner, and is made using pantry basics. Although the tomato sauce can be prepared without diced pancetta, adding it enhances the sauce with a mild salty flavor. Nonetheless, the dish can be kept vegetarian by omitting the pancetta.


  • 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons diced thick cut pancetta (optional)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 6 - 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (measure with your heart)
  • 1 -3 tablespoons crushed Calabrian chili paste
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 5 ounces parmesan, thinly shaved
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt


Step 1

Adjust the oven rack to the second highest position and turn the broiler on high.

Step 2

In a medium-sized oven-safe skillet, add the diced pancetta and cook over medium-high heat and cook until crispy - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. When done, drain the pancetta on a plate lined with paper towels.

Step 3

Reduce burner temperature to medium-low and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add minced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Once the onions are softened, add a little more olive oil and all of the garlic. Sautee the garlic for about a minute, until soft and fragrant.

Add the canned tomatoes, a third of the chopped basil, fried pancetta, Calabrian chili paste, and a generous pinch of salt. Break the whole tomatoes up with a sturdy wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Taste and add more salt and chili paste if needed. Stir in half-shaved parmesan.

Step 4

Gently crack the eggs into the skillet over the tomato sauce and sprinkle the remaining shaved parmesan on top of the eggs. Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle the remaining basil on top of the dish and serve it with bread that has been fried in olive oil.

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