Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
19 Jun

Apple-Stuffed Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potato Chips

After all the animal fat talk this week, I figured a recipe was in order. But how could I make a dish that revolved around animal fat? Animal fats usually are just cooking aids, rather than stars of the show – it wasn’t like I could just plop a few ounces of rendered lard on a plate and serve that up – so I had to somehow emphasize them. To accomplish this, I used three different animal fats in the making of the dish. Bacon lard coated the oven-roasted chicken, the apples cooked in goose fat, and the sweet potato chips were fried in freshly-rendered beef tallow.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A chicken (I used a four-pounder)
Apples (I used gala)
Sweet potatoes
Goose fat
Bacon lard
Sea salt
A lemon

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and place your three fats on the counter to soften. Rinse your chicken and save the organs. After patting it dry, coat your chicken, inside and out, with sea salt and black pepper. Make sure the salt is really being absorbed into the skin. Set it aside until this takes place.

Next, chop up your apples into cubes. I used 3 medium sized gala apples, very crisp and sweet. They were organic, so I left the peels on. Sprinkle a good amount of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth) onto your apples and toss.

Stuff your chicken with the apples. If you can’t fit them all, don’t worry. You’ll be removing the original bunch about halfway through the roasting, at which point you can re-stuff the chicken with the leftover apples.

Coat the chicken liberally with the softened bacon lard. I used three nice big globs. You’ll probably have to use your hands and get a little greasy if you really want a good coating… and you want a good coating. Once it’s all coated (don’t forget the bottom), put the chicken breast up in a roasting pan and pop it into the oven.

While the chicken roasts and the delicious scent of heated bacon fat fills the kitchen, you should prep the sweet potatoes. Peel them and then, with the sharpest knife available, slice them as thin as you can. Achieving a crispy sweet potato can be really difficult, and a thickness of more than a few millimeters pretty much makes it impossible (without resorting to a starchy coating, which you don’t want). Lay your potato slices out on a paper towel, sprinkle salt on both sides, and cover them with another paper towel. The salt will draw out moisture and the towels will soak it up. Remember, moisture is the enemy of crispness.

After thirty minutes in the oven, reduce the heat to 375 degrees. The skin should be nicely browning by now. If you have more apples you’d like to cook, now’s the time to make the switch. Use a spoon to scoop out the warm apples and reserve them in a bowl. Stuff the chicken with the new apples. Put the bird back in the oven.

After forty minutes, your chicken should be done. Make sure it is by stabbing the thickest part of the thigh; if the juices run clear, it’s done. If they run red, it still has a bit more to go. My four-pounder was done after forty, but oven temperatures and bird weights will vary, so do the stab test. If your chicken’s done, remove the apples and add them to the original bunch, sprinkling some cardamom over all of them.

Now it’s time to heat the tallow. Get a heavy pan (cast iron is probably best) and use enough tallow to make about a half-inch of liquid fat. Heat it over medium-high heat for a few minutes, then do a test run. Add a single sweet potato slice (they should be ready by now) and monitor it closely. If it starts to brown and crisp up after just a few minutes, you have a good heat level. Go ahead and add the rest. Don’t overcrowd the pan, because that will drop the temperature. Use tongs to occasionally flip the slices, making sure not to allow burning. The key is having incredibly thinly sliced potato slices so that the frying is brief and instantaneous. Let them cool/drain on a paper towel.

At the same time, heat a couple tablespoons of goose fat in another heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add your apples. They’re pretty much cooked already (from their time in the chicken), so you’re mainly looking to get a nice crust on them. When you’re satisfied with the texture and the level of char, remove them from the heat.

Next, combine all three on the same piece of circular ceramic and dig in!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Looks great! I’m going to try it this weekend, but do you have any ideas of what to use to replace the tallow and goose fat?

    Leanne wrote on June 19th, 2009
  2. I love it! This is going in my recipe book!

    Jen wrote on June 19th, 2009
  3. Mmmm! The whole shebang sounds delicious. But those sweet taters are definitely going to be on the menu in the next couple days. I got a mandolin for Christmas that will be perfect for getting those super-thin slices.



    Adam Steer wrote on June 19th, 2009
  4. Looks great! Can I rub coconut oil all over the chicken rather than bacon lard?

    Buckeye wrote on June 19th, 2009
    • I suppose you could, Buckeye, but the chicken may retain some of that coconut taste.

      Mark Sisson wrote on June 19th, 2009
      • & some of us don’t see that as a bad thing… (coconut-crusted chicken salad??)

        btw – sweet potatoes are ok, PB-speaking? I’ve been shying away from them lately…

        Peggy wrote on June 19th, 2009
      • Hey Mark my doc just told me to get my ars in gear, I need to lose 50 pounds which I know this life style of eating will achieve, but, where in this world can I find real lard without nitrates and all the other garbage? I live in south western ohio.

        Pam wrote on August 27th, 2012
  5. Mmmm mmm! This sounds tasty!

    Yummy wrote on June 19th, 2009
  6. Silly question — are sweet potatoes primal?

    Inglewood wrote on June 19th, 2009
    • I wouldn’t make sweet potatoes a regular staple of my diet, but on occasion and in moderation they play a role in the PB.

      Mark Sisson wrote on June 19th, 2009
    • According to the Primal Blueprint (which I just finished- amazing!), sweet potatoes are considered tubers, which Grok probably found and ate occasionally. Mark explained that most potatoes in general are another domesticated, recently introduced product that happens to stimulate a high insulin response when eaten. But, sweet potatoes are nutritionally superior to lighter colored potatoes and stimulate a lower insulin response. So it can be considered a “eat every once in a while” carb.

      Jane wrote on June 19th, 2009
      • I’m glad you liked it, Jane. And nice summary of my take on them. They hover around the Sensible Indulgence realm.

        Grok On!

        Mark Sisson wrote on June 19th, 2009
        • My BG meter agrees, despite the “sweet” taste they are significantly less BG spiking than ordinary pots.

          I also used to love fried plantain chips but no more. :(

          Trinkwasser wrote on June 22nd, 2009
  7. this is a perfect fall dish- can’t wait to try it come October! So maybe we can get some grilled summery recipes out of Mark next :)

    marci wrote on June 19th, 2009
  8. Looks yummy. Will try out this recipe in the fall when apples and sweet potatoes are in season. I second Marci’s request for recipes using produce available at farmers’ markets now.

    Sonagi wrote on June 19th, 2009
  9. Beautiful! I never would have thought to fry apples. I will be having those with my lunch tomorrow!

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

    FoodRenegade wrote on June 19th, 2009
  10. Dang, that looks good. Roast chicken is by far our favourite meal. Our next one will surely find itself on the receiving end of some lemon-tossed apple cubes.

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on June 19th, 2009
  11. i have definitely used coconut oil for sweet potato fries. I’ve even deep-fried my chicken wings in coconut oil to do the homemade gluten-free version of buffalo wings.

    you can also toss cubed apples into the sweet potatoes and just bake – with a bit of leftover cut-up sausage. serve on a bed of kale.

    jennifer wrote on June 19th, 2009
    • I’ve also used coconut oil to pan fry sweet potato slices. Delicious. Coconut oil works well for meat and veggies as long as you use compatible seasoning. Since coconut is used in southeast Asian, Indian, and Caribbean cooking, I use herbs and spices from those cuisines.

      Sonagi wrote on June 19th, 2009
  12. That looks so good, but I am afraid , it is going to be a few months before I could give it a try, I need to lose weight, and cant have that much fat yet,neither sweet potaoe, I eat olive oil …etc, but the heavy stuff still no.

    Have a nice weekend

    thania1 wrote on June 19th, 2009
    • wait a minute — fat is the way you loose weight.

      grandma wrote on June 19th, 2009
    • Hey now, how much of this blog have you read through? Might want to take a little look around, you might be pleasantly surprised. :)

      Organ wrote on June 19th, 2009
  13. I make a salad occasionally with fried apples. I cook some bacon in a pan and let fat render. Throw some sliced apples in and some pine nuts. when the pine nuts brown i dump the whole mess onto a mix of spinach and arugula that i toss with a homemade citrus vinaigrette. Delicious.

    Tal wrote on June 19th, 2009
  14. Wow, that looks so amazing… And Tal’s idea about throwing apples in the bacon grease after you’re done cooking the bacon? Uh, yum. I must do that soon! (And I love pine nuts too. Have a huge bag in my fridge.)

    FlyNavyWife wrote on June 19th, 2009
  15. Your are certainly correct about cast iron probably being the best. Good post and wonderful photography.

    Doyle wrote on June 20th, 2009
  16. The BEST of healthy cooking ideas is always right here on MDA.

    Jeez, Mark, you need to have your own T.V. Cooking Show!!

    Donna wrote on June 20th, 2009
  17. The key to perfect chips? Buy a mandolin slicer. =)

    George wrote on June 21st, 2009
  18. I’m so excited to try this out! Where would I find Goose Fat? I’m afraid I’ve never seen it, not that I’ve ever had to look for it :-)

    Nicola wrote on July 4th, 2009
  19. why are your sweet potatos yellow/orange on the inside? mine are white

    C2H5OH wrote on August 30th, 2009
    • Yours are probably yams or “soft” variety sweet potatoes. They’re called “soft” because they soften when cooked, versus the yellow/orange firm varieties. (They’re called yams because they resemble true yams found in Africa and were called that by slaves.)
      For this recipe the firm sweet potatoes would probably work better.

      Karell wrote on September 26th, 2009
  20. i just made the apple stuffed chicken for dinner a few hours ago and it was AMAZING. the only modifications i made were stuffing a handful of fresh rosemary in the cavity with the apples, and i also left the apples in the cavity for the entire cook time. i served them over butternut squash alongside the chicken. i will most assuredly be making this a “sunday regular”. the leftovers will come in handy for lunches. thanks for sharing the recipe, mark!

    elizabeth wrote on September 27th, 2009
  21. OMG! Looks delicious!

    iisierra wrote on January 19th, 2010
  22. What do we do with the organs? you said to save it but then you forgot to tell us!

    Anthony wrote on July 18th, 2010
  23. After making this recipe I felt obligated to come on here and say thank you very much for the recipe. This was possibly the BEST chicken I’ve ever made and probably ever eaten.

    Jesse wrote on August 20th, 2010
  24. can i replace the apples with garlic and onions to be stuffed inside the chicken? the apples would be really good for side dish.

    virlie wrote on October 22nd, 2010
  25. this is very good!
    going in my recepie book

    Afitz wrote on July 30th, 2012

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