Fennel with Red Bulgur (Kırmızı Bulgurlu Rezene)

Before this meal came together I was not certain how it was going to turn out. Although bulgur is widely used in Turkish cuisine, I had not cooked with red bulgur before and had never incorporated any type of bulgur with carrots or fresh peppers let alone fennel, a vegetable with a strong aromatic flavor. Since there are only a few recipes that I know how to create from fennel I was nervous about the outcome. Nevertheless, the result was astonishing to me. The dish was so flavorful and delicious I enjoyed it tremendously. I think fish, lobster or shrimp would accompany this meal very well.

Note: If red bulgur is not available, regular (yellowish) bulgur can be used.

¾ cup red bulgur (fine grind)
1 fennel root (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
3 small carrots (sliced)
¼ cup chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp cracked red pepper
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 cup water

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add cracked red pepper, cumin, ground black pepper and cayenne to the oil and stir for 1 minute. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add the fennel and stir well. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots and red bell pepper and stir again. Close lid and cook for another 5 minutes. Open lid, pour water and add the fine bulgur. Sprinkle salt and mix thoroughly. Turn heat to low and cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir. Serve with plain yogurt.