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!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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41 thoughts on “Apple-Stuffed Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potato Chips”

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  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?

  2. 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.



  3. Looks great! Can I rub coconut oil all over the chicken rather than bacon lard?

    1. I suppose you could, Buckeye, but the chicken may retain some of that coconut taste.

      1. & 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…

      2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. I’m glad you liked it, Jane. And nice summary of my take on them. They hover around the Sensible Indulgence realm.

        Grok On!

        1. 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. 🙁

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. Beautiful! I never would have thought to fry apples. I will be having those with my lunch tomorrow!

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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

    1. Hey now, how much of this blog have you read through? Might want to take a little look around, you might be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

  9. 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.

  10. 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.)

  11. Your are certainly correct about cast iron probably being the best. Good post and wonderful photography.

  12. The BEST of healthy cooking ideas is always right here on MDA.

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

  13. 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 🙂

  14. why are your sweet potatos yellow/orange on the inside? mine are white

    1. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. What do we do with the organs? you said to save it but then you forgot to tell us!

  17. 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.

  18. can i replace the apples with garlic and onions to be stuffed inside the chicken? the apples would be really good for side dish.