Braised Lamb Shanks with Dried Figs & Ras el Hanout
• 1/3 cup stemmed dried black Mission figs
• 1/3 cup warm water
• 4 lamb shanks
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed
• 1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
• 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Soak figs in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the water. Cut the figs into quarters and set aside.
Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-reactive Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks without overcrowding and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove shanks from pan and set aside.
Pour off excess fat in pan. Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and the Ras el Hanout and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved liquid from figs and simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, honey and reserved figs, then return the shanks to the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chops are cooked through and tender, about 1½-2 hours.
Remove shanks from pan. Stir the parsley into remaining liquid in pan and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Plate shanks, season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon sauce over the shanks and serve.