21 November 2013

Today is Day Three of my Thanksgiving Week and it also coincides with this month's Improv Challenge.

The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients.  The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it.

This month's ingredients were cardamom and orange.  Awesome ingredients, especially this time of year.  I love cardamom, and feel it is very underused by most cooks.  While it is great in cookies and other sweet baked goods, it's also amazing in savory applications.  Last fall I posted a recipe for Maple Roasted Turnips with Warm Spices.  The cardamom (and its friend coriander) was the star of that dish.  I thought that cardamom would be really good on pork too.  I couldn't find a good recipe for cardamom-crusted pork loin, so I kind of made one up myself.  Then I made a tasty orange sauce to go with it.  

Cardamom Crusted Pork Loin with Orange Sauce

2½ lbs. pork loin, trimmed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp cardamom 
3 lbs. parsnips, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
⅔ cup orange juice
2 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cold water

To prepare roast, combine salt, white pepper, and cardamom in a small bowl.  Rub mixture over surface of roast; place in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray.  Place parsnips around roast and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Give them a good stir to make sure they are evenly coated.

Bake at 400° for 1 hour to an hour and a half or until meat thermometer registers 160°, stirring parsnips frequently.  Remove from oven; place roast on a carving board, and place parsnips in a bowl using a slotted spoon.

For the sauce: in a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Serve with pork and parsnips.

Makes 6-8 servings.

The pork and parsnips getting all cozy before hitting the oven.  This was only about 1 lbs. of parsnips and it really wasn't enough for the amount of pork, so I increased that in the recipe above.

Isn't it gorgeous?  The cardamom, salt, and white pepper are the perfect seasoning for it.  And the orange compliments it so well.  This pork would be so great for Thanksgiving if you don't feel like messing with the hassle of a turkey, or your family doesn't really like turkey, or you want a second main dish in addition to the turkey.  

I served this with a wild rice blend.  The whole meal had a great fall feel to it.  But it would be great with a wide variety of side dishes.

Check out all the other great cardamom and orange recipes below.  Next month's ingredients are white chocolate and lime.
Tomorrow I will end my Thanksgiving Week on a sweet note with a super simple pumpkin dessert.

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  1. You and I were on the same wave length this month. I love the flavor of cardamom with meat!

  2. While that pork looks to be quite tasty, I must say, THOSE PARSNIPS LOOK AMAZING!!!!! This recipe is definitely going into the choices for Christmas dinner.

  3. Yeah, it works really well on meat. Great choice of ingredient for this time of year!

  4. Yes, I forgot to mention how much I loved the parsnips! They were really good. I should have dusted them with some of the cardamom too.

  5. This looks like the perfect fall/winter meal. I can't wait to add it to my dinner list soon.

  6. Karen - Cinnamon FreudNovember 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Yum, looks delicious! I am always look for new recipes using pork tenderloin!

  7. This looks like a great idea for my next dinner club...I hadn't thought of pairing cardamom with meat. Awesome! :)

  8. Cardamom is definitely underused in my kitchen and was one of the reasons I loved this challenge so much. Your use of the ingredients was fantastic! I love that you went the savory route. Sounds delicious!