Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add half the meat and briefly brown on both sides. Drain and remove to a plate, then repeat with the rest of the meat.
Add the onions and carrots to the casserole dish and cook for 5 minutes, then add the wine vinegar and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, scraping up any meaty bits.
Pour in the hot stock, then add the turmeric, cumin, thyme, bay leaves and salt and pepper to season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, return the meat to the casserole, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the rice, apricots and sultanas to the casserole and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, until the rice and meat are both tender. (The stock will be absorbed.) Remove the bay leaves and thyme, check for seasoning and serve hot. Garnish with additional bay leaves and fresh thyme if you like.
• If you prefer lamb off the bone, use a 450 g neck fillet and cut it into thick slices. Chump chops or leg steaks could also be used but the neck is more economical. • If it's more convenient, the casserole can be baked at 180°C for 1½ hours. • Add a little paprika with the other spices if you enjoy a spicy flavour.