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.




Lobster Bisque

Morton's Steakhouse Recipe

Serves 10

Lobster Bisque Stock (see recipe below)
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 packed cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon brandy
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
lobster meat from stock, warmed, for garnish
chopped fresh curly leaf parsley, for garnish

In a large pot, bring the Lobster Bisque to a boil over medium high heat.  Stir in the heavy cream.
In a small bowl, whisk together the wine and cornstarch until smooth.  Add to the hot stock and whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the soup simmers and thickens. Stir in the brandy, salt, white pepper and cayenne.  Serve immediately, garnished with lobster meat and parsley.

Note:  To warm the lobster meat, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat, drop the lobster meat into the hot water for 45 seconds, and then drain well.

Lobster Bisque Stock
Makes 2 quarts

3 1/2 to 4 pounds small lobsters or other fresh lobsters
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium Spanish onion, roughly chopped 
1 large celery rib, roughly chopped 
1 garlic clove, chopped
2/3 cup tomato paste
8 curly leaf parsley sprigs, rinsed well and thick stems trimmed

In a large stockpot, bring about 5 gallons of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the lobsters and cook, partially covered, at a gentle boil for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the lobsters are red. Remove the lobsters with tongs, drain in a colander, reserving the lobster cooking water, and set aside for at least 30 minutes to cool.

When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the meat form the lobsters, including the claws and tails, reserving the shells. Cut the meat into large chunks, trimming any rough edges, and reserve the meat, covered in the refrigerator, to garnish the bisque. Put the remaining lobster shells in two heavy-duty plastic bags. Wrap the bags in a kitchen towel and smash the shells with a mallet, a rolling pin, or the flat side of a skillet.

Meanwhile, in another large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic and saute, partially covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Add the crushed lobster shells and saute for about 15 minutes. Add 12 cups of reserved lobster cooking water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the tomato paste and parsley and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the stock, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat and froth that float to the surface of the liquid.

Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large metal bowl, pressing down on the vegetables and shells to release all the liquid. You need 8 cups of liquid. If necessary, pour additional lobster cooking water or tap water over the shells in the sieve and into the bowl until you have 8 cups. Discard the shells and vegetables.

If not using right away, put the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or until chilled. Transfer the stock to a covered storage container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The stock can be frozen for up to 7 days if frozen as soon as it’s prepared.

Note: Small lobsters have thinner, softer shells than larger ones and so are easier to crush. They also may be less expensive than larger ones. You don’t need to buy small lobsters, though. Larger lobsters will also work.

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