Sweet Surprise Chili Recipe
Sweet Surprise Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Sweet Surprise Chili Recipe

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I’ve won three chili cook-offs with this recipe. Everyone loves it, and they’re always amazed when I reveal the secret ingredient!
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 2 hours
MAKES:8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 2 hours
MAKES: 8 servings


  • 3 pounds beef top sirloin steak, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (16 ounces) chili beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 package (12 ounces) pitted dried plums, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper


  1. In a Dutch oven, brown beef in oil in batches. Remove and keep warm. Add sausage and onion to the pan; cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. Return beef to the pan; stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until beef is tender. Yield: 8 servings (2-3/4 quarts).
Originally published as Sweet Surprise Chili in Country Extra January 2008, p51

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Ilovematty 241046
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2016

"Good chile. Added 2 teaspoons of flour to juices to thicken and reduced water for crock pot cooking. Even better day 2! Thanks for sharing."

JACKIED. 152468
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2013

"I made this for a chili cook off at Church today....I used ground beef instead of the steak and it was great also. I actually won 1ST Place with it too! Thanks for sharing!! No one could guess the "secret" ingredient."

ween26 141936
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2013

"This was a great change of pace to our normal spicy hot chili. Everyone loved it and no one guessed the secret ingredient :)"

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