Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs

By • September 15, 2009 121 Comments

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Author Notes: Merguez sausage is a distinctly spiced Moroccan sausage made of lamb that can be found in specialty food markets. If you cannot find merguez in your area, use whatever sausage suits your taste, but I particularly like Spanish chorizo. Harissa is a fiery condiment found on most North African tables and is used to spice up dishes to suit your palate. Ras el Hanout translates to "top of the shop" and refers to the top combination of spices a Moroccan spice vendor can sell. You can find both harissa and ras el hanout at www.gourmetfoodstore.com, or you can make your own. - ecswantnerepicureanodyssey

Food52 Review: We ate this for lunch and agreed it was the perfect meal for the middle of the day -- or the beginning of the day, or the end of the day. The spicy merguez (you can use hot Italian sausage if you can't find merguez or chorizo) is bathed in a lush, smoky sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices; when you cut into the soft eggs on top, poached right in the sauce, the buttery yolk combines with the rest of the dish and mellows any sharp edges. We found that we didn't need all of the oil, as the sausage gave off a lot of its own fat, so we just spooned off some of the extra oil before poaching the eggs. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound merguez sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout, see note above
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes, preferably Muir Glen
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems included
  • 2 tablespoons harissa, see note above
  • warm crusty bread, for serving
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Toss in the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the merguez and sauté until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the Ras el Hanout, Spanish smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine and cook for a minute to lightly toast the spices. Add the tomatoes. Turn up the heat to medium and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Crack the eggs over the mixture, cover and cook until the whites set, but the yolks are still soft.
  4. Divide the eggs and ragout among four warm bowls using a large spoon. Top with a sprinkling of cilantro and a teaspoon of Harissa.
  5. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
  • This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Brunch Eggs

More Great Recipes: Eggs|Breakfast & Brunch|Breakfast|Bread|Tomatoes

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Comments (121) Questions (4)

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4 months ago krikri

Made this tonight. Everyone really liked it but said it was rather oily. Next time (and there will be a next time!) I'll start with considerably less and add more if necessary. Didn't have the can of tomatoes - but I chopped up some fresh ones and added some marinade leftover from taxicab chicken!
Thanks for the recipe!

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

4 months ago epicureanodyssey

Another of my favorites, Spanish chorizo, and I bet it's every bit as tasty as merguez, Sarah!

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4 months ago sarah

Just made this last night for a "breakfast for dinner" with friends. Lots of "Wows" and "Delicious!" comments! The only substitute I made was Chorizo for Merguez sausage and the sauce reduced for longer than the recipe called for since I was fixing other things at the same time. The result was a stew like texture that I really liked. It paired well with The Tortilla Espanola recipe also from Food52. A winner all around!

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5 months ago none none

Sorry this is a bit late! A veg (well, really, lacto-ovo-vegetarian) version is pretty simple - just don't use the sausage. Slice a couple of red bell peppers and add to the pan to sauté when you are doing the onion and garlic. Crumble about a block/rectangle of good feta (sheep milk, not the cow milk kind) and sprinkle about half after you add the eggs, and the rest on top before serving. So delicious. No one really missed the meat.

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

5 months ago epicureanodyssey

My personal favorite is made with merguez, but try it with whatever you have on hand or whatever suits your palate. Remember, recipes are only a guideline. HAVE FUN!

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5 months ago Sukran Ozatalar

How about trying this dish with ground beef.

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5 months ago chef lew

I have made it with Chorizo and vouch for the flavor. I imagine ground would work but, if you're like me and like spice, you'd want to add some.

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

11 months ago epicureanodyssey

None none, would you mind posting your vegetarian version? Others might be interested in your changes. Thanks! And glad you enjoyed it!

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11 months ago none none

Yum! Made a vegetarian version with feta instead of merguez. Still delicious.

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

about 1 year ago epicureanodyssey

Love the addition of potatoes...especially teensy potatoes from our farmer's market! Glad you are enjoying the dish...I'm mad about it!

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about 1 year ago Fragon

A favorite! Steamed chunks of new potato added to the dish is a nice addition sometimes. So easy and flavorful!

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

over 1 year ago epicureanodyssey

Glad you liked it, MBE!

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over 1 year ago MBE

This is awesome!! Made it with a locally grown/produced Merguez from Blues Creek farms and served it with Cheese Grits made with stone ground grits from Shagbark Seed and Mill and Blue Jacket Dairy Hull's Trace cheddar to soak up all those great juices!

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

over 1 year ago epicureanodyssey

Cool beans!! I make it often as well...one of my husband's faves.

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over 1 year ago Andrea K

This is just fantastic. I had it for New Year's Day breakfast and have made it twice since then. All my friends wanted the recipe.

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

over 1 year ago epicureanodyssey

Ham, I LOVE your additions! I will give them a whirl when next making this dish!

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over 1 year ago Ham

I'm so glad to hear it! I thought the recipe was incredible -- with or without them -- but I'm a real sucker for grilled bread.

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over 1 year ago Ham

This is delicious! I grilled the bread and added 1 tbl cumin with the tomatoes. Once it was finished, I also topped it with a sprinkle of za'atar.

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over 1 year ago Kristin Nicole

This looks amazing, I love the different spices you have added to this dish. I have to try to find these ingredients and make this at home.

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

almost 2 years ago epicureanodyssey

Phillip, it is only in the recent past that Harissa Spice has shown up on the market. Typically, when you see "harissa" in a recipe, it refers to a paste. If you'd like, I can send you my "faux" harissa recipe as I begin with Asian Chile-garlic Sauce. You can contact me at www.epicureanodyssey.com.

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almost 2 years ago Phillip

Is the harissa in this recipe is paste/sauce form or dried spice?

B9158d7a-0bba-45f6-aa98-4317842d1548--chef_emily

almost 2 years ago epicureanodyssey

Shell, I rather like the idea of chickpeas AND eggplant. Give it a whirl and let me know if it worked for you.