A guard of honour is no more than two French-trimmed racks of lamb cooked together standing upright, with the cutlet bones interleaved and presented after carving with a herb and mushroom stuffing. The bones should be scraped bare and any excess fat removed if the covering over the meat is too thick. Cut a neat diamond pattern into the fat and season generously with salt and pepper, pressing it in with your fingers. Serve the lamb with French beans or mashed potatoes.
In a small bowl, moisten the cubes of bread with a little milk and then squeeze them dry. Reserve.
Fry the pancetta or bacon gently until the fat runs. Sweat the butter and the onion in it for 15 minutes over a low heat, until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 5–10 minutes. Add the grated lemon zest, stir in the bread, season with salt and pepper and the chilli flakes, then remove from the heat.
About 5 minutes before serving, return the stuffing to a low heat to warm through, stirring in the chopped parsley and chives. Carve the racks across into individual cutlets, putting 3 on each of 4 warmed plates with the stuffing beside them and the gravy poured around.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.