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Christmas Crown Roast

1 Triple-crown roast of lamb; bones Frenched
2 tb Olive oil
1 tb Chopped fresh rosemary
6 Sprigs fresh rosemary; plus more for garnish
3 c Wild rice; washed
Coarse salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 c Unsalted butter
3 md Onions; chopped
3 lg Celery stalks; chopped
3 c Seedless grapes; halved
1 1/2 c Blanched almonds; chopped
1 tb Chopped fresh thyme
1 c Sherry
Papillotes; for garnish
Grape bunches; for garnish


Remove roast from refrigerator. Rub with olive oil and chopped rosemary, inside and out. Intertwine rosemary sprigs between rib bones. Set aside, and allow to come to room temperature while preparing stuffing. Add rice to a medium pot of boiling salted water. Return to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain rice, return to pot, and cook over low heat until dry. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and celery and cook until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Toss in grapes, almonds, and thyme. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in rice and season with salt and pepper. Place rack in roasting pan and cover with foil. Transfer roast to roasting pan, and fill with rice stuffing; mound it high, but do not pack too tightly. (Cook extra stuffing in a buttered baking dish covered with buttered parchment paper until thoroughly heated, about 15 to 20 minutes.) Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees for medium-rare. Turn off oven, and allow to rest in oven with door ajar for 10 minutes before serving. Decorate tips of rib bones with papillotes and garnish platter with bunches of grapes and rosemary sprigs, if desired. (We have substituted green paper Christmas trees for the traditional white papillotes; but olives, cherries, or kumquats may also be used.) To carve, remove papillotes, and scoop out stuffing; transferring to a platter. Slice down between bones with a sharp knife and place on platter. An alternative method is to separate each rib section and lay flat on a cutting board and slice between bones. Serves 6 to 8.


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