Pork Roast with Cardamom Mushroom Sauce

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There are two, no make that three, secrets to making an excellent pork roast. The first is to brine the roast; brining helps the roast retain moisture when it cooks.

The second is to not overcook the pork. Take the roast out at 140 to 145°F; the internal temperature will still continue to rise 5 or 10 degrees. Much higher and you have shoe leather. The third tip is to pair the roast with a wonderful sauce, as pork is rather mild and fares well with a good sauce.

Okay, now that we’ve established the fundamentals, this pork roast with a cardamom onion crust and mushroom sauce is I think, the best pork roast I’ve ever had.

Pork Roast Cardamom Mushrooms

Much of this has to do with the fact that the pork was brined overnight and it was cooked to a perfect temperature, the inside still a little pink. But the sauce really takes this roast out of this world. Creamy, mushroom-y, cardamom-y.

The recipe is (barely) adapted from one in an old Bon Appetit. Normally cardamom is used with Middle Eastern dishes, often with desserts. Who knew that cardamom would work so well in a mushroom cream sauce? This savory sauce is one that I will be making again soon, perhaps next time over chicken breasts.

Pork Roast with Cardamom Mushroom Sauce Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

Brine:

  • 3/4 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 tablespoon pepper

Roast:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium sized onions), divided into 3 x 1/2 cups
  • Olive oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided, 2 and 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 4-pound center-cut boneless pork loin roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided, 1 cup and 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbps butter, room temperature

Method

1 Brine the pork roast: Whisk together the salt, sugar, and water until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Add the pepper.

Submerge pork in the brine solution and chill for 1 to 2 days. Note that thick, gallon-sized freezer bag is great for brining; if you use one, you probably only need half as much brine solution. Even if you are using a bag, place in a bowl just in case the bag leaks.

Rinse the roast thoroughly of the brine solution before cooking, pat dry.

2 Preheat oven to 350°F.

3 Make onion garlic cardamom rub: Purée 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 teaspoons ground cardamom, and garlic in a food processor or blender.

4 Rub roast with onion purée, surround with mushrooms and onions in roasting pan: Toss remaining 1 cup of chopped onion with mushrooms and 4 Tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Place pork roast in the center of the roasting pan. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper. Rub roast with onion garlic purée. Surround the roast with mushrooms and onions.

5 Roast pork, remove mushrooms, add broth and water: Roast pork 1 hour at 350°F. Remove from oven after one hour and remove the mushrooms, placing them into a large saucepan.

Add 1 cup broth and 1/2 cup water to roasting pan.

Return roast to oven and roast pork until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 140°F-145°F, about 15-20 minutes longer. Transfer pork to platter; tent with foil.

6 Make mushroom cream sauce with pan drippings: Scrape the drippings from the roasting pan into the pan with the mushrooms. Add the cream, remaining cup of broth, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom to pan; bring to boil. Blend flour and butter in small cup; mix into mushroom sauce.

Cook the sauce, stirring often, until reduced enough to coat spoon. Season sauce with salt and pepper; serve with pork.

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Recipe (barely) adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.

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Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • Kristen Kennedy

    Oh Elise – this was SO delicious!! When I announced I was making pork loin tonight my husband cringed. I’ve had disappointing results in the past. He has gone back for a third helping of this recipe – thank you!!

  • Lines and Screams

    I just made this recipe last week and it was delicious! We had a good amount of the sauce left over and it was too amazing to just chuck so I made risotto with it. And OhMyGod it was good! I melted some butter with a little bit of truffle oil and coated the rice with that. I added the mushroom cardamom sauce and let the rice soak that up and I added the hot broth as I would with any risotto and stirred. When the risotto was cooked, I added about 1/4 cup of romano cheese. I topped each bowl with another drizzle of truffle oil. It was awesome!

  • Kathleen

    Elise, I have to tell you that I didn’t use a nice pork roast on this. I had a huge shoulder in the freezer that I was not sure how to prepare. (The other half was not wonderful… We just didn’t like the taste of the pork itself) I cannot recall ever having cardomom in a dish, so I was a little hesitant (but always looking for an adventure.) When I opened the cardamom spice jar I really wasn’t sure if I would like it..
    Since my piece of meat was so large, I marinated it for about 40 hours then followed your directions. I have to tell you that it was, indeed, THE best pork I have ever had! I had one bite and really, I didn’t want to stop eating! The conbination of the Cardomom and mushrooms taste amazing! (My sauce was a bit too runny, but I didn’t care. The taste of it is… well… to die for.) I will definately be making this recipe again! I can only imagine what it will taste like with a good piece of meat!
    Thank you again for another wonderful recipe. I know I can always count on your site to find excellent recipes.

  • Mary Morris

    I agree with you, Elise, the best pork roast ever and served with blanched fresh green beans, mashed potatoes with parsley, with cardamom sauce drizzled over the pork and potatoes makes a lovely presentation, and a very yummy meal. My husband was bowled over. Too bad I didn’t have dinner guests, but will next time!

    Since it was just the two of us, I made a pork roast pie with the leftovers; I made more cardamom sauce, added more mushrooms, chopped up the pork and topped the meat and sauce with the leftover mashed potatoes, baked it for about 1/2 hour at 350. That was good, too!

  • Karen Haugland

    Made this for my husband birthday last night. Best pork roast ever. Even the left overs tonight were good. My Mother in law had seconds!

    Easy, yummy and love the “secret” ingredient of cardomom.

    Next to try the sauce with chicken over egg noodles for a lighter stroganoff type meal.

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