This chicken casserole is aromatic with spices evocative of both India and North Africa, two of my favourite places and cuisines. Serve with a crisp green vegetable or a salad. If you cook this for part of the time early in the day and then complete the cooking later on it seems to taste even better.
Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain and boil in plenty of water until soft. This can take anything from 45 minutes to 1½ hours, depending on the age of the chickpeas. Drain well. Meanwhile, peel the onions and garlic, put them into a food processor with the mushrooms and whizz until chopped as finely as possible.
Cover the casserole dish, put it back on the stove over a high heat and bring up to simmering point. Then transfer to the oven and cook for 2½ hours, until all the ingredients are meltingly tender. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and salt. Just before serving, slice the coriander or parsley leaves roughly and scatter into the casserole.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.