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.




Prize Winning Burger

Morton's Chef Recipe

Makes 4 Burgers

2 lbs. prime chuck roll (80/20 blend)
3 oz. tomato juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
6 oz. cream cheese
4 tablespoons Scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup soy or canola oil
3 large jalapenos, sliced 1/8 inch thick on a bias and deseeded
1 cup all purpose flour
4 oz. pasteurized eggs
1/2 cup coarse grain yellow cornmeal
8 slices bacon
4 brioche rolls
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 head bibb (Boston) lettuce

Preheat your oven to 375. Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl, and in another smaller bowl work the cream cheese and scallion together with your hands and set that aside.
Scale out four 8.5 to 9 oz. burgers. Mold the burgers just a bit larger than the bread then make a crust like rim around the burger so it resembles a small pizza shell. The “crust” should be about a half inch wide.

Now take 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture and form a disk and place it on your burger. Fold the “crust” over the cream cheese very gently until the cream cheese disk is in the middle of your burger. Make sure there are no cracks in the burger and it is a uniform shape. Repeat three more times. Put your four burgers in the fridge to set, about 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, place your bacon on a rack over a sheet pan and put it in the oven. Pour the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. While that is going, coat your sliced jalapenos with about 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix the remaining flour with the cornmeal.

Drop the dusted jalapenos in the eggs, then in the cornmeal. The jalapeno slices should now be covered completely with the cornmeal mixture. Pan fry them for about a minute or so on each side. (You are looking for a golden brown color.) Place them on a paper towel and set aside. Take the crispy bacon out of the oven and place them with the jalapenos.

Gently place the burgers on a hot, oiled grill or broiler and cook them about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. (Do not press down too hard on the burgers during cooking, because this will cause the cheese to run out.)

While your burgers are on the grill, slice the buns in half and butter the cut side and put them on a sheet pan cut side down on the bottom of your oven and toast them till they are browned.
Lastly, place a piece of the bib lettuce on the bottom bun followed by the burger, another piece of lettuce, 3 jalapeno slices and then the bacon. Put the bun top on.

Notes: This recipe comes from Morton Steakhouse Chef Raiola.

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