In a deep casserole, brown four large chicken thighs in 3 tbsp of groundnut oil. As they start to brown add 2 tbsp of ras el hanout. Pour in 200g of pearled spelt and 400ml of boiling chicken stock. Bring back to the boil, season with salt and turn the heat down to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time. Season with the juice of a lemon and 2 tbsp of chopped mint. Serves 2-4.
Use large, plump, free-range chicken thighs. They will give a better flavour. Make certain you are using pearled spelt, not standard spelt grain. Ready-made chicken stock can be bought from the supermarket if you don't make your own. Ras el hanout is to be found among the herbs and spices in any large food store. You can also buy it online from Seasonedpioneers.co.uk.
Use other herb and spice mixes as the mood takes you - herbes de Provence or any of the commercially made spice mixes. Use joints of rabbit instead of chicken. Use coriander instead of mint, especially if you have used an Indian or southeast Asian spice mix.
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Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer