Vegetable Stew with Rice and Lentils

Earlier this week I had wanted to try making a rice and lentil dish another bike polo player had described, but summer weather had finally turned hot and I didn't feel like heating up the kitchen (or, really, do anything I couldn't do in the little air-conditioned cage I have in my apartment). I turned to the greatest invention of all times, the crockpot, and this is what came out.

I have a six quart crock pot, but none of the stuff in this recipe is really measured, so just wing it. Crank the crock pot on high. Dice up one onion and three cloves of garlic, put in the pot. Slice up six carrots and six stalks of celery (plus all the inner leaves of the celery bunch) and throw those in. Slice eight ounces of mushrooms and throw those in. Throw in a can of diced, no-salt-added tomatoes (if you have fresh lying about, one or two tomatoes diced will do). Add about 1.5 cups each of lentils and rice. Put in 1 quart of vegetable broth (again, I use the low sodium stuff), and then add enough water to well cover every thing. Stir.

When everything is good and bubbling, turn the crock pot down to its lowest setting. It only takes a few hours to cook, stir occasionally or the rice and lentils will clump and stick (then again, I left this going on "warm" overnight and it came out fine). I added water occasionally as liquid evaporated away, do so to your liking. You can tell when everything is done, the rice will expand and release a bunch of starch, which will make everything nice and thick. When it was done I threw in a few tablespoons of Bragg's liquid aminos (soy or tamari sauce would work as well) and a couple dashes of liquid smoke. Do this to taste.

This tastes even better when you leave it in the fridge for a day.