Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the meat and quickly brown on both sides, in two batches. Drain and remove to a plate. Add the onions and carrots to the casserole, cook for 5 minutes, then add the vinegar and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, scraping up any meaty bits.
Pour in the hot stock, 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. (If more convenient, the casserole can be left to cook in the oven at 180°C/gas 4 for 1 1/4 hours.)
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.
*If you prefer lamb off the bone, use 450g neck fillet and cut it into thick slices. Chump chops or leg steaks could also be used but the neck is more economical. *Add a little ground paprika if you enjoy a spicy flavour.