What a wonderful, savory dish to wake up to in the mornings. This recipe beautifully displays eggs nestled in a spicy tomato sauce with a hint of smokiness. You won’t believe how an ordinary egg can be transformed into an amazing work of culinary richness in these Spanish Baked Eggs in Purgatory.
Lazy Saturday mornings are definitely my favorite of all the days. After a long week of pushing and pressing to accomplish as much as I can on this treadmill of existence, here is a time where “life balance” kicks in. I’ve learned the hard way over the years how important it is to slow down every once in a while and let sanity take center stage.
No need this morning to set an alarm clock or grab my day planner to see what’s on my schedule. Breakfast is ready when it’s ready. No rush, no pressure. Now that’s the way a Saturday should be. These Smoky Spanish Baked Eggs are the best for lackadaisical mornings like this.
Why I love this Smoky Spanish Baked Eggs in Purgatory Recipe:
This is a splendid dish for a Saturday morning brunch. Depending on how many people you are looking to feed, this recipe can be adjusted to serve a few or many. It takes the same amount of time and effort to make a small batch as it does a large one.
The tomato base has an incredible amount of flavor and texture. Between the diced tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapeños, this combination gives a lovely mouthfeel to a culinary experience. When you add the spices, chipotle peppers, and fresh oregano, the flavors are stacked one on top of the other with a richness that can only be described as AMAZING!
This recipe creates both a smoky and spicy taste all in the same dish. The jalapeños and the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce bring a good amount of heat to the dish. The smokiness originates from the smoked paprika along with the chipotle peppers.
How to make these Spanish Baked Eggs in Purgatory:
Let’s Start with the Different Colors of Bell Peppers
There is a difference in yellow, orange and red bell peppers. These all come from the same plant but the variation in color depends on their maturity and ripeness. Green is the most immature of the peppers, therefore they’re not near as sweet and don’t have the full nutritional value.
I chose the yellow, orange and red in this recipe for variety but stayed away from the green because they tend to be a little bitter. I wanted the sweetness of these three peppers to enhance the tomatoes and balance out the heat of the jalapeños and chipotle peppers.
Sauté the Yellow, Orange and Red Peppers with the Sweet Onion
To sauté, the onions and bell peppers are cooked fairly quickly in a couple of tablespoons of oil and at a high temperature, around medium-high. These veggies will ultimately show a little bit of browning and caramelization. But you need to be careful not to burn them at this high heat. Frequently stirring and keeping an eye on the heat level to adjust it will help avoid burning.
I decided to use sliced peppers and onions as opposed to chopped. Since they will continue softening while they simmer, slicing along with slightly undercooking them at this stage will add more texture to the overall dish.
Choosing the right Jalapeño Peppers
When choosing jalapeños for this recipe, consider if you want extra heat or are inclined to a slightly milder dish. There is a way to tell (believe it or not) when picking them from the grocery bin. If you head over to my Jalapeño Popper post, I give some help in looking to snag the right jalapeño for your taste. (Also, you will want to try those Poppers as well. But be careful, they are addictive.)
How long do you cook the veggies?
I used a large well-seasoned cast-iron skillet and cooked the onions and bell peppers for 6-8 minutes before I added the jalapeños. Then I cooked all of them together for another 4 minutes or so. I wanted the end product for the veggies to be soft but not mushy otherwise they could get lost in the diced tomatoes.
Then right at the very end with a minute remaining, add the minced garlic and oregano. It’s at this point the aroma will fill your kitchen and you will be ever so glad you began this cooking venture. Garlic is one of my “first loves.” I can never get enough of it. And when it hits the heat, it overtakes my senses and I remember why I love cooking.
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
The recipe calls for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which adds a depth of flavor to the dish. The adobo sauce is a rich reddish-brown sauce with an earthy flavor and is mildly spicy. If you want a little more heat and smokiness, add a few extra chipotle peppers from the can and one or two extra tablespoons of the sauce.
The Base of the sauce is diced tomatoes
For this particular recipe, petite diced tomatoes are preferred above regular diced tomatoes. You actually can use either one, it doesn’t change the taste at all, just the texture itself. But what does change to the betterment of this recipe are the different spices we’re about to add!
Add Some Spice to Your Life!
Cumin powder has a warm, earthy and toasty taste that works wonderfully with this dish. It’s often found in chili, soups, marinades, and many Mexican and Mediterranean recipes. One note to remember is that once cumin is ground it gradually loses its flavor, so you will want to replace it often.
As its name suggests, smoked paprika, which by the way is one of my all-time favorite spices, adds a smoky flavor to any dish it’s combined with. It also contributes a gorgeous red hue to the sauce. In my opinion, this is the one ingredient that enhances the flavor of this recipe the most.
Saffron – these threadlike stigmas add a beautiful yellow hue to dishes such as Indian curry recipes, Spanish paella and plenty of rice/risotto dishes. The flavor honestly cannot be described, but one knows it when it hits their tongue.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices available and for good reason. Apparently, one crocus flower yields only three strands, they bloom one week out of the year and are harvested by hand. You just need a pinch in this recipe, but if you don’t want the hefty price tag that comes with it, turmeric can be a decent substitute. Here’s the substitute: 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp paprika.
How to Cook Acidic Recipes Safely in a Cast Iron Skillet
Make sure that your cast iron skillet is well seasoned especially when you are cooking acidic dishes. Also, limit this particular recipe to a 10-15 minute simmer time, a 15 minute cook time in the oven. and don’t let it sit too long in the pan before you dish it up.
Any leftovers or sauce that is made ahead of time, should be removed from the cast iron skillet, transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge until ready to reheat. Immediately wash out your cast iron skillet with warm water and use paper towels to dry. In this way, it will not damage the seasoning on it.
Cracking the Eggs and Nestling Them in the Sauce
Somehow I missed photos of the cracked eggs nestled in the tomato sauce before it went in the oven. But it’s pretty dang simple to accomplish. I used a wooden spoon and made a well in the sauce for however many eggs I wanted to cook. For this dish, I used four eggs, but in the recipe card below, I use eight eggs which total four servings.
Crack each egg individually into a ramekin and drop it into one of the wells. This way if that one yolk breaks, you can throw it away and start over. It just doesn’t taste the same if the yolks are broken in the sauce.
How to Help the Yolks Protrude Up from the Whites
You can see here in the photo above that the egg yolk did not protrude as I would have liked. You can alleviate this problem by the following. Once the eggs are placed in the sauce gently brush aside the egg white that is sitting on the yolk with either a soft basting brush or a piece of paper towel. This step is only if you want an extra “pretty” presentation. The yolks can be easily broken while doing this step though, so you have to be careful.
Once the eggs are placed in the sauce, put the pan in a 350°F preheated oven and let them cook for 10-15 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Be careful not to overcook, because it’s so much better when you have the runny egg yolks mixing with the sauce as your fork dives into them.
How to Serve This Spanish Baked Eggs in Purgatory
You have a couple of options when you’re serving this dish. You can double the recipe, put the heated sauce in a large shallow roasting pan and add as many eggs as you need for your family or guests.
You can also make individual servings using large ramekins. The one frustration with the ramekins, they’re only big enough for one egg. Either way, your guests are going to love, love LOVE this dish.
One of the best things you can add to this dish is a crusty piece of ciabatta bread that has been brushed with olive oil and grilled to a nice golden crispiness. The sauce alone is absolutely delicious and is perfect for dipping the bread.
These Spanish Baked Eggs in Purgatory are so appetizing and hearty while having intense flavor and depth of texture. It is a lovely presentation for guests that are staying for the weekend or friends that are coming over for brunch.
My recommendation, if you are planning a brunch, would be to serve it with crusty bread and a side salad. If you’re serving this for breakfast, add some crispy hash browns and a side of thick whole-grain toast smothered in butter. Mmmmm!!! I can already taste it.
If you’re looking for more brunch ideas, make sure and check these recipes out:
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Spanish Baked Eggs in Purgatory
What a wonderful, savory dish to wake up to in the mornings. This dish beautifully displays eggs nestled in a spicy tomato sauce with a hint of smokiness. You won’t believe how an ordinary egg can be transformed into an amazing work of culinary richness.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast/Brunch
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: American
- 1 large Sweet Onion, sliced
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper, sliced
- 1 large Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced
- 1 large Orange Bell Pepper, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Avocado Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 4 large Jalapeños, sliced
- 6 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano
- 4 14 ounces cans Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 3 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 4 heaping teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- Pinch of Saffron Threads
- 4 large Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, finely chopped to almost pureed
- 2 tablespoons Adobo Sauce, from the can
- 8 large Eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large oven-proof skillet, sauté sliced onion and bell peppers in the avocado oil over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes or until slightly softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add sliced jalapeños and continue cooking for another 4 minutes they are softened and the veggies are slightly browned.
- Add the minced garlic and the oregano to the skillet and cook for one minute until they release a fragrant aroma.
- Add the tomatoes, the spices, and the chipotle peppers and sauce. Stir until well combined.
- Cook until the sauce just begins to boil and reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- With a wooden spoon, make 8 separate wells in the sauce. Crack an egg into a ramekin and drop into a well. Continue with all 8 eggs.
- Place the pan in the 350°F preheated oven and let it cook for 10-15 minutes or until the whites have set and the yolks are still runny.
- Remove and serve immediately.
- Choose the yellow, orange and red for this recipe but stayed away from the green. They tend to be a little bitter.
- If you want a little more heat and smokiness, add a few extra chipotle peppers from the can and an extra one or two tablespoons of the sauce. Also, the ribs of the jalapeños carry the main heat of the pepper. Leave that in place if you like it really hot.
- Be careful not to burn the veggies when you are sautéeing them at medium-high heat. Frequently stirring and keeping an eye on the heat level to adjust it will help avoid this problem.
- Use sliced peppers and onions as opposed to diced. They will continue softening while they simmer.
- Crack each egg individually into a ramekin and drop it into one of the wells. This way if that one yolk breaks, you can throw it away and start over.
- Make sure that your cast iron skillet is well seasoned especially when you are cooking acidic dishes. Any leftovers or sauce that is made ahead of time, should be removed from the cast iron skillet, transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge until ready to reheat.
- To help the egg yolk protrude from the egg white while cooking, use either a soft pastry brush or a paper towel and gently brush aside the egg white off the top of the yolk before it goes in the oven. The yolks can be easily broken while doing this step, so be careful.
- Serving Size: 2 Eggs in 1 1/2 cups Sauce
- Calories: 398
- Sugar: 23 g
- Sodium: 1512 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 12 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 40 g
- Fiber: 11 g
- Protein: 19 g
- Cholesterol: 372 mg
Keywords: Spanish Eggs, Spanish Baked Eggs, Baked Eggs in Oven, Eggs in Purgatory