Pork Roast with Cardamom Mushroom Sauce

Brined pork loin, roasted with an onion cardamom crust and served with a mushroom cream sauce.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

  • Yield: Serves 8



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


  • 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


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.

Showing 4 of 22 Comments

  • BipolarLawyerCook

    Elise, have you ever tried dry brining, as described in Judy Rogers’ Zuni Cafe Cookbook? It’s essentially a dry rub, but with several tablespoons of salt added. I find that it works as well as brining for poultry and pork in maintaining the meat’s moisture, but that the texture is better– firmer, less mushy. Too, it works on beef and lamb, which don’t improve with wet brining most of the time.

    I’ve heard of dry brining steak but not a pork roast. Have you tried it on a roast? ~Elise

  • ann

    Made this for Christmas dinner and it was a total hit. Delicious — thanks for posting the recipe! We don’t have enough meat leftover, but there’s plenty of sauce – so pork crepes for dinner tomorrow with a ladle of sauce over!

  • Amy Artisan

    When I saw this recipe a couple of weeks ago I knew it would be the center of this year’s Christmas dinner. Cardamom is a family favorite spice. This was my first time brining anything. Wow – this is a wonderful dish!

    To complete the menu, I served this with Cranberry/Toasted Pecan Couscous, Creamed Spinach, Sweet Onion Casserole & Mom’s Sour Cream Yeast Cresents.

    The meal was a hit with everyone. The leftovers were just as good. I’ll be making this again.

  • Sara

    Wow this looks so good. I love cardamom and I love pork loin. I adapted this to make a mushroom cream sauce for a pork chop the other night. It was so delicious! I’m going to try cooking with cardamom more – it’s one of my favorite spices, but I mostly just have it in middle eastern sweets and tea. Time to experiment with new flavors!

  • Jan


    I made this while you had your comments off because you were away. The fact that I made myself come back here to comment will tell you how wonderful this pork roast was. It was the best meal I ever made. In fact I found it hard to believe I did make it. I followed your recipe exactly – perfect. I got lucky and Costco had a $4.00 off coupon for pork roast and I made this for $6.00, not counting mushrooms. Thanks.

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