3clovesgarlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
½cupdiced carrots, about 2 medium carrots
½cupdiced celery, about 2 stalks
1 ½teaspoonssmoked paprika
1poundYukon Gold or red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (I do not peel but you can if you want)
1cupred lentils, sorted and rinsed (see note)
1cupbrown lentils, sorted and rinsed (see note)
8cupschicken or vegetable stock or broth
8 to 10ounceskale or spinach, chopped (optional but delicious)
In a stovetop or electric pressure cooker, heat the oil (use the Sauté function in the Instant Pot). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.
Add the cumin, paprika and salt. Stir to combine.
Add the potatoes, lentils and stock or broth.
Secure the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at 3 minutes on high pressure. Quick release the pressure, unlock the lid, and stir in the kale or spinach, if using.
Season to taste with salt and pepper (very important!) and serve. The soup will thicken a bit as it cools.
Lentils: ok, let's talk lentils. There are lots of varieties, and you can definitely experiment with this recipe, but I've made this with all (2 cups total) brown lentils and then decided to try it with half red and half brown lentils (1 cup each, as written in the recipe) and it was better. The red lentils absorb and kind of melt into the soup giving it a delicious creaminess. I found red lentils in the bulk bins at my local grocery store.Paprika: if there is one recipe that should put you over the top to finally buy smoked paprika, let it be this. That amazingly fragrant and delicious flavor is so important to the tastiness of this soup.Stovetop: if you don't have a pressure cooker, try this on the stovetop: follow the directions, sautéing the vegetables in oil and adding the rest of the ingredients, except the kale or spinach. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and let cook for 35-40 minutes (maybe longer, just keep an eye on it), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir in the kale or spinach, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.