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2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
11/2 cups red lentils, rinsed (available at health-food stores)
7 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the carrots and lentils are soft.
During the last 20 minutes of cooking, add the mint, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Thin soup with additional stock or water, if desired.