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

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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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."

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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