4 1/2 to 5 pounds lamb shanks (about 3 to 4 shanks), preferably split at the shank end, as pictured *
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for browning the lamb
3/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/4 cup stock (either beef, vegetable, or chicken)
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (or more to taste) **
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon table-salt for the braising liquid (or to taste—first check how much salt is in your stock)
6 fresh figs, halved ***
optional: 1 teaspoon minced parsley for garnish
* If the shanks are not split, and/or if you don’t have a wide dutch oven, it’ll be harder to fit them together in one even layer—you want to make sure that each piece of meat is submerged almost halfway in the sauce. If you can’t get the lamb shanks to fit in one layer, the skinny ends can stick pretty far out of the braising liquid.
** Different brands of pomegranate molasses vary in sweetness and acidity. If yours is particularly tangy and sweet, use 1/4 cup. If it is on the mellower side, try as much as 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons.
*** If it’s not fig season, feel free to omit them, adding an extra 2 tablespoons of stock to the liquid.
**** To use the spoon method, move the sauce to a bowl so that it’s easier to work with. Place the spoon so that it is almost parallel to the sauce’s surface, like a little raft at sea. Keeping it parallel to the surface, slowly let the spoon sink slightly into the liquid, allowing the fat to rush into the spoon’s bowl. Be careful not to dip to low or on too much of an angle, or else you’ll remove a lot of the sauce with the fat. Remove and repeat until you’ve skimmed most of the fat (it takes about 5 minutes).