It's an Italian theme 1920's evening but I'm thinking the lamb shanks might be a lot more work than a leg of lamb or some other cut of lamb?
Are you channeling your best self with this comment? (If you're not sure, check out our Code of Conduct.)
I love lamb shanks. And Tuscan lamb shanks and white beans is a complete meal - the best part is you can make it ahead of time and the house will smell fabulous. Trying to find a dozen smallish shanks and cooking them all might be challenging unless you have 2 ovens. A bone in leg of lamb for 12 will be pretty large, you might be better off roasting 2 smaller ones for better flavor. I've made this recipe many, many times with excellent results - read the reviews for tips. I use a bottle of merlot. http://www.epicurious.com...
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
When I have that many people, I serve a leg of lamb and lamb meatballs, just to make it more interesting and take up less oven space than two legs. Meatballs are a bit of work but can be done in advance and re-heated.
Pat is a trusted home cook.
If you decide to do lamb shanks take a look at this recipe...I think most of the work can be done ahead (shanks and roasted tomatoes). It's one of our all time favorites!
I would go with the lamb shanks, easily made the day before and gently reheated. Great recipe here http://www.saveur.com/article... Also way less messy and stressful than carving a leg of lamb with 12 hungry guests waiting for the main course after you've served anitpasti and primi. BTW, what else are you planning on serving? Cheers and good luck! Happy New Year!
Lamb shanks would be my first pick...you can pre-prepare then just toss into a slow oven (225F for 5 hours) so the meat is falling off the bone. One per person and you are done. It leaves you time to entertain (and look after the side dishes).
If you go with leg, I would go through the effort to de-bone it. That makes for much easier (and faster) slicing and serving. Once again, giving you time to be the hostess. Pop a few slivers of garlic here and there and marinate with greek yogurt and lemon; or just marinate in lemon and oil. What ever you do, I am sure you guests will be very appreciative of your efforts.
While I love shanks and would make that my pick personally, I think logistically, if I'm serving people, the leg of lamb might be easier to cut and serve. Also, as a guest, I really wouldn't wan to struggle with a great big bone on my plate and would be intimidated to really devour it in front of others. I'm sure you will find excellent recipes for both versions on this site and elsewhere though! (I have a Persian one with pomegranites and quince on here.) Also, agree with the previous poster who suggested deboning the leg before-you can ask your butcher to debone it and stick it back into the meat so you get convenience without losing flavor.
Wow, I like all of these ideas and love this feature of your web site. I think I'm going with pre-preparing the lamb shanks ahead of time and cooking slowly, serving with a wild mushroom risotto, spinach along with antipasta and Champagne as the guests arrive. Some nice Cabs will go well with the lamb and Tiramisu for dessert.
amysarah is a trusted home cook.
That sounds like a perfect meal! Lamb shanks (or any sort of braised lamb, e.g., a tagine) is also great for entertaining because the flavor actually improves if made ahead and reheated. For another time maybe, re: the leg of lamb/serving question - another option is to have one boned, then roll it with rosemary, garlic, lemon rind, whatever you like, and tie it into a roast. Makes it easy to cook and slice at the table.
Meg is a trusted home cook.
Love stuffed braised shoulder of lamb. Use the Julia Child recipe for Stuffed Shoulder of Lamb with Spinach and Mushroom Duxelles. Hard to make but no last minute work at all.