Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs

September 15, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

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, or you can make your own. - ecswantner


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 Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems included
  • 2 tablespoons harissa, see note above
  • warm crusty bread, for serving
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Moroccan|Cilantro|Egg|Paprika|One-Pot Wonders|Poach|Winter|Fall|Breakfast

Reviews (125) Questions (4)

125 Reviews

MBE December 30, 2018
I've been using this one as my base recipe for great Christmas morning breakfast for years. This year I gave it an update. No oil required for the great merguez sausage I get from local butchers. Brown the sausage first then add the onion until soft and translucent, then the garlic and spices(no salt) (I use a Ras El Hanout blend that I found on Epicurious (Gourmet April 1988). Upped the tomatoes to 1-28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (chopped with kitchen shears) plus one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes. Fire roasted are nice but not necessary. Added a Tbs of harissa paste with more on the table for the heat lovers. Tasted for salt after simmering for a bit (it all depends on the sausage, tomatoes etc.). Yum!!!
msmely January 31, 2018
It's not often I follow a recipe nearly exactly but this was perfect. Homemade harissa and ras el hanout probably helped, and the local butcher had some excellent lamb merguez. I started with 285g instead of 454g (1lb) and listened to the head note's advisement about oil. Started with 2tbsp and that was plenty. Served with a loaf of Jim Lahey's no knead bread and it was truly excellent.
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey March 28, 2016
Mark, your substitutions sound perfect. In fact, I sometimes add chickpeas. Glad you like it! emily
Mark B. March 22, 2016
Wow, this was fantastic, even my sweet, but picky kids liked this one. I used mild italian (b/ of kids) and added a can of chickpeas and it turned out great. Also added a little fresh thyme, b/ i just like thyme. worked out great. will definitely make this again. thanks for the recipe.
krikri May 4, 2015
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!<br />Thanks for the recipe!
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey April 25, 2015
Another of my favorites, Spanish chorizo, and I bet it's every bit as tasty as merguez, Sarah!
sarah April 25, 2015
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!
none N. March 20, 2015
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.
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey March 20, 2015
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!
Sukran O. March 20, 2015
How about trying this dish with ground beef.
chef L. March 20, 2015
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.
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey October 13, 2014
None none, would you mind posting your vegetarian version? Others might be interested in your changes. Thanks! And glad you enjoyed it!
none N. October 13, 2014
Yum! Made a vegetarian version with feta instead of merguez. Still delicious.
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey August 12, 2014
Love the addition of potatoes...especially teensy potatoes from our farmer's market! Glad you are enjoying the dish...I'm mad about it!
Fragon August 10, 2014
A favorite! Steamed chunks of new potato added to the dish is a nice addition sometimes. So easy and flavorful!
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey April 16, 2014
Glad you liked it, MBE!
MBE March 31, 2014
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!
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey January 28, 2014
Cool beans!! I make it often as of my husband's faves.
Andrea K. January 28, 2014
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.
Author Comment
epicureanodyssey January 4, 2014
Ham, I LOVE your additions! I will give them a whirl when next making this dish!<br />
Ham January 7, 2014
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.
Ham January 4, 2014
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.