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5 Ways to Go Organic

One chef's advice on eating well for health

Nora Pouillon

Nora Pouillon is the owner of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C. — Matthew Rakola

Nutrition: "If you eat more nutritional foods produced and prepared in a more healthful way, then you don't need to eat as much food because you are satiated earlier," Pouillon says. "The older we get, the smaller our portions should get because our metabolism slows down. We can't, can't, can't become more sedentary and then get into snacking more."

An exercise buff who loves skiing and hiking, Pouillon stays in such good shape that in 2000 she was photographed for a "Naked Chefs" ad campaign, posing behind a strategically placed Vita-Prep blender. When people tell her they never could get fit or go organic as she has, Pouillon presses them to at least take the first step. Make the apple-a-day an organic one; take up swimming, dance, yoga.

"The big thing to remember," she insists, "is not to give up. As you adjust your eating and living habits, nothing will happen quickly. But slowly and steadily, the changes will have an impact on your health and how you feel."    

Want a dish that uses organic, seasonal ingredients you can find at the grocery store? Pouillon suggests roasted chicken with winter vegetables, a recipe she adapted for from her cookbook Cooking With Nora.

Roasted Chicken Legs and Winter Vegetables

Adapted by chef Nora Pouillon from Cooking With Nora (Random House, 1996)

4 whole chicken leg quarters (leg and thigh)

2 large carrots (3/4 pound), peeled cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

8 small new potatoes (3/4 pound)

8 baby turnips, trimmed and quartered

8 baby beets (1/2 pound) or parsnips, peeled and quartered or sliced

4 ribs celery (1/2 pound) cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

4 shallots, peeled

4 whole garlic heads, with 1/3 of the top trimmed off to expose a cross-section of the cloves

4 teaspoons olive oil

4 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chicken stock or white wine

Celery leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the chicken, carrots, potatoes, turnips, beets, celery, shallots, whole garlic heads and 3 teaspoons oil into a large bowl. Season to taste with chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Oil a 9-x-14-inch roasting pan with the remaining oil. Remove the chicken legs from the bowl and place them into the baking dish.

Pour 1/2 cup stock or wine into the baking dish. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, turning once so it will brown evenly.

Add the seasoned vegetables and remaining stock or wine to the roasting pan with the chicken. Roast for 45 minutes or until the chicken and vegetables are browned and cooked through.

Assembly: Divide the vegetables among 4 warm plates, then place a chicken leg on each. Pour the accumulated juices over the meat and vegetables. Garnish with celery leaves. Serves 4.

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