Friday, June 29, 2012

Shepherd Salad and Rice Pilaf

I ate a lot of great food when I lived in Turkey.  Some of my favorites were home-cooked specialties that were quite labor intensive.  One of my favorite meals however was quite simple.  I loved Turkish rice pilaf with a big scoop of Shepherd salad on top. 

Shepherd salad, or coban (pronounced joe-bon) salad is usually made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley, with fresh garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  My favorite variation is chopped tomato, cucumber, and onion.  When I scoop my salad over my rice, I include a good amount of the juice (the mixture of the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and tomato juice). 

Shepherd salad is a great side dish for many meals, but I especially love it with rice. 

Shepherd Salad (Coban Salad)

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste

I usually combine the chopped cucumber and chopped onion in a bowl, add salt, and let sit for 30 minutes.  I refrigerate if I have room. 

I chop and salt the tomatoes separately.  I like to make enough Shepherd Salad for leftovers, but I mix with fresh tomatoes.  I prefer the texture of the fresh tomatoes versus the tomatoes refrigerated in the lemon and oil. 

Next I add the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil to the cucumbers and onions. 

Refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes before serving. 

Rice Pilaf

1 cup Uncle Ben’s long grain converted rice
1 cup medium grain rice, such as Hindoe
5 cups water
1/3 cup small, thin pasta
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Chicken bouillon powder

Prepare rice pilaf similar to Rice-a-Roni.  Get oil hot in skillet.  Add pasta, when starting to brown, add butter.  Cook until pasta is browned.  Don’t add the butter too soon, because it will burn before the pasta is browned. 

Add rice, water, and about one heaping tablespoon of chicken bouillon.  Cover and cook on medium for 25 minutes or until water is absorbed. 

Serve pilaf with Shepherd Salad on top.  Rice pilaf is also great in tomato soup. 


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