Most butchers will prepare a guard of honour for you if given 24 hours' notice. It is made from two best ends of lamb with the tops of the bones trimmed clean to about 3 in. (7.5cm). The two pieces of meat are then joined and sewn together along the bottom meaty part of the joints, with the skin outermost. The meat is then folded together, with the skin on the outside so that the cleaned bones meet and cross at the top. The bones may be protected with foil when cooking to prevent them from burning.
1 prepared guard of honour
2 oz (50g) dried apricots
1 oz (25g) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 oz (25g) almonds, chopped
4 oz (l00 g) long-grain rice
Salt and pepper 3/4 pt (450ml) water
1. Finely chop the apricots and put them in a small bowl. Cover with water and allow to soak for several hours or overnight.
2. Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C) mark 6.
3. To prepare the stuffing: Melt the butter in a small saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft.
4. Add the almonds and fry for 2-3 minutes to brown.
5. Drain the apricots and add them to the pan with the rice, salt and pepper. Add the water and simmer gently until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender (about 15-20 minutes or until cooked. This will vary slightly with the variety of rice used.)
6. Taste and check seasoning.
7. Put the stuffing in the centre of the lamb, place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until tender.
8. Decorate with a cutlet frill on top of each bone and lift onto a serving dish.
Accompaniments: Serve with a thin gravy and mint sauce or redcurrant jelly. Cauliflower in white sauce and roast potatoes are very good with lamb.
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