Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. owns and operates Morton's of Chicago, a high-end steakhouse restaurant chain aimed at a business clientele, and Bertolini's Authentic Trattorias, a smaller chain offering Italian specialties in a casual dining atmosphere. At the end of 1998 Morton's Restaurant Group owned and operated 43 Morton's of Chicago and 12 Bertolini's units. All Morton's of Chicago restaurants were similar in style, concept, and decor, and were located in retail, hotel, commercial, and office building complexes in major metropolitan areas and urban centers. Catering primarily to business-oriented clients, Morton's of Chicago had an average per person check of about $65 in 1998. The Bertolini's restaurants offered white tablecloth service, with an average per person check of about $20. Morton's Restaurant Group also held a minority of stock in two other restaurant chains, Mick's and Peasant.




Five Onion Soup

Morton's Steakhouse Copycat Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds Spanish onions (about 2 large), thinly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 small leek, halved, thinly sliced, and well rinsed
3 to 4 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup minced garlic (about 20 cloves)
5 tablespoons dry sherry
1/4 cup Madeira wine
1 1/2 teaspoons beef base
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken base
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 small bay leaf
1 3/4 quarts (7 cups) reconstituted store-bought demi-glace, or beef broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Croutons (See recipe below)
1 1/4 pounds Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, grates or shredded
chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, for serving

In a deep stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add both types of onions, the leeks, shallots, and garlic and cook very slowly, loosely covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until the onions release their juices, are very soft and syrupy, and are lightly browned. Add the sherry, Madeira, beef and chicken base, thyme, herbes de Provence, and bay leaf.  Raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 4 to 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Stir in the demi-glace and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. Preheat the broiler.

Remove the bay leaf, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and ladle the soup into 10 broiler-safe soup crocks.  Lay 2 croutons on top of each bowl of soup and sprinkle the cheese over the croutons.  The cheese should cover both the crouton and the soup. Working in batches, broil the soup crocks 2 to 3 inches from the heat source for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese browns and the soup bubbles around the sides.  Use heavy oven mitts to handle the crocks and take great care removing the crocks from the broiler.  Garnish each bowl with parsley and serve soup immediately.

Croutons for Five-Onion Soup:
Makes 20 to 25 Croutons

One 18- to 20-inch-long baguette or 4 Portugese or Milano rolls

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread on the diagonal into croutons that measure about 2 1/2 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide, and 1/2 inch thick.  Spread the croutons on a baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn and bake for 4 to 6 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, slide the croutons onto a cool pan or rack and let cool.  Use right away or store in a lidded container for up to 3 days.

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