Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

¼ c olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 med carrots, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 med white onion, finely chopped
1 t ground cumin
½ t red chili flakes
½ sm butternut squash (about 1 lb.) peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
kosher salt and fresh-crack black pepper, to taste
6 c stock (use vegetable stock or water if you prefer a vegan soup)
1 c split red lentils
chopped parsley, for garnish
smoked paprika, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in cumin, chili flakes, squash, salt, and pepper and cook until the squash is soft, about 15 minutes. Add stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, slightly covered, until lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes. Let the soup cool slightly, then, working in batches, purée soup until smooth. To serve: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley and scattering of paprika. Serves 4-6.