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Sweet Surprise Chili

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 (2-3/4 quarts)


  • 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 (prunes), chopped
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper


  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts: 1-1/3 cups equals 523 calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 89 mg cholesterol, 1,188 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 47 g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • John
    Oct 25, 2019

    I have made this several times and it is always a crowd pleaser. In my opinon, doubling the amount of Italian Sausage to 1 pound makes this even better.

  • Kim
    Feb 1, 2019

    Not fan of chili powder. This had just enough to taste like chili without being overpowering. I added a can of white beans to the recipe - and won the company cook-off against a very strong chili with pumpkin.

  • Ilovematty
    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.

    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
    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 :)