The Champagne Joute is a traditional wintry dish from the Champagne Ardenne French region. This typical vegetable stew is indeed a delightful Northern version of the well-known French Pot-au-Feu. Also called Potée Champenoise, "La Joute" is a rich main dish foremost made of smoked ham (from the Ardennes region of course), cabbage and sausages.
The typical Potée Champenoise - or Joute - accounts for the French Cuisine du Terroir. Made out with fresh ingredients like carrots, turnips, potatoes and Bouquet Garni of herbs, from Champagne Ardenne markets, this vegetable soup is absolutely tasty and healthy. What makes the Joute so appreciated is certainly its delicious combination of cabbage and chicken.
Indeed, differing from the pot au feu and others French vegetable soups, the Champagne speciality includes ham, bacon, sausages as well as chicken - or more precisely, cockerel. The success of the potée Champenoise is also due to the flavourful mix of vegetables based on cabbage, which is a very popular vegetable in the French gastronomy. You may even find some cabbages growing in every kitchen garden of Champagne Ardenne!
The Joute stewed vegetables exemplify the robust regional fare proper to this northern region of France which it is common to accompany with a glass - or several! - of Champagne wines. But make no mistake, cabbage is in fact a low calorie dish and is very tasty, even cooked simply in a stock, without adding much fat! That may explain why this vegetable is today a classic of the French gastronomy.
Top Tip! French restaurants' menus often include "A la Champenoise" or simply "Champenois" dishes. It essentially means that such specialities are cooked with Champagne*wines.