Published December 11, 2016 - Last Updated February 17, 2021
Kobete – A Sephardic recipe from our Israeli family. Similar to Turkish kobete, but made with a filling of meat, tomatoes, potatoes and pine nuts.
On our recent trip to Israel, my husband took a walk on the street where he grew up– Ness Ziona, which translates to Miracle of Zion. It’s a cute little street in Tel Aviv, not far from our hotel on the edge of the Mediterranean sea. As he neared the apartment building where he was born, he was flooded with memories of his mom’s cooking. She was Sephardic, seventh generation Israeli from Haifa, so many recipes my husband grew up with had a distinctly Sephardic influence. None of her home-cooked recipes made him happier than kobete.
Kobete is a meat-filled savory pie, a filling and hearty entree for a cold winter day. Similar kobete meat pies are made in Turkey with seasoned chicken as a filling. My husband’s father lived in Turkey for a short time on his way back to Israel, and the Turkish influence made an impression on their family cuisine. Their family recipe for kobete is different than the standard Turkish version; it features seasoned ground beef, potatoes, tomatoes and pine nuts. It is very tasty. Every winter, without fail, my husband requests it. As soon as we got back from Israel, I knew I had to make it for him.
Note: A reader pointed out that kobete is made in Turkey, but the dish originates in Crimean Tartar cuisine. My husband’s father’s family was from Crimea, so it seems clear that this family recipe is also influenced by their roots in Crimea. Fascinating!
This is a heavy entree, so best reserved for colder weather. The savory spiced meat, tomato and potato filling is hearty and full of flavor. A flaky, golden, sesame-coated crust bakes around the filling. I think this may very well be my husband’s all-time favorite dish. If he is having a rough week, a warm batch of kobete never fails to cheer him up. It’s cozy comfort food, just right for a chilly evening.
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Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...