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Crown Roast of Lamb with Apricot Rice Stuffing

This is an excellent party dish as it can be prepared in advance.

ingredients

serves 6
2 best ends of neck (lamb)
45 ml (3 tbsp) oil
freshly ground pepper

stuffing

100 g (4 oz) long-grain or risotto rice
15 g (1 tbsp) butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery
100 g (4 oz) dried apricots, steeped or 1 large can apricots
10 g (1 tbsp) sultanas
15 g (1 tbsp) mixed nuts, chopped
1 egg, beaten
7 g (1 tbsp) parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

method

1. Ask the butcher to prepare the crown roast, or, if this is not possible, have the best ends chined.

2. Remove the skin from the fatty side of the joints.

3. Cut along the fat about 3.5 cm (1 1/2 in) from the top of the bone and remove fat and meat from the tops of the bones.

4. Scrape the little end bones clean with a knife.

5. Turn the meat over the cut between the cutlets to enable the joint to bend.

6. Stand the two pieces of meat up with the bones at the top.

7. Turn fatty sides in and sew together at the top and bottom of the joints to make the crown roast.

8. Paint over with oil and sprinkle with pepper.

9. For the stuffing, partially cook the rice for 10 minutes, rinse and allow to drain and cool.

10. Heat the butter and oil and cook the onion for 4 minutes over a low heat.

11. Add the chopped celery, chopped apricots (if using canned apricots retain 8 drained halves for garnish), sultanas and nuts.

12. Lastly stir in the rice. Turn into a bowl and allow to cool. Mix with the egg yolk and parsley.

13. Fill the centre of the roast with the stuffing. Cover with a piece of foil.

14. Cover the individual tips of the bones with foil to prevent charring. Then completely cover with foil.

15. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 - 2 hours at 180°C (350°F) Gas 4, depending on size of the cutlets.

16. Remove the crown roast to a heated plate and make gravy to accompany roast in the usual way.

If using canned apricots, a little juice may be added to the gravy. Remove the string before carving.

Note Any excess stuffing may be used to stuff apricot halves which can be cooked brushed with oil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

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