Award Winning Sweet & Spicy Chili

I originally found this recipe and thought it was amazing. They insisted that it won awards, but the first three times I took it to the neighborhood cook-off it got nothing. Then, after many years and a new neighborhood, I took it out, dusted it off, changed a few things and won my first ever cooking award (in fairness, I did once win ‘prettiest pie’ in a neighborhood apple pie contest, but I’m not sure that counts).

Some things to know about these recipes: the first is a bit pricey (check the first ingredient!) and wants you to use a dutch oven. The alternate version is much more affordable and calls for a crock pot. Both recipes are moderately easy and don’t create too big of a mess. I would advise beginning at least 3 hours before meal time, earlier if your meat is still frozen.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn’t think to take any at the time. I’ll try to add one of the humongous trophy that is ours to store proudly display until the next neighborhood party next year.

First, the original recipe, yield 8 servings, about 2 3/4 quarts:

3 lbs beef top sirloin steak, cubed
1 TBS canola oil
1/2 lbs bulk Italian Sausage
1 Large onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 can (16 oz) chili beans, undrained
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
1 package (12 oz) pitted dried plums, chopped
3 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

  • In Dutch over, brown the beef in oil in batches. remove and keep warm. Add the sausage and onion to the pan; cook and stir over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Return the beef to the pan; stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until beef is tender.

My version (better, in my opinion):

3 lbs beef top sirloin steak roast, cubed (if frozen, start a few hours earlier)
1 TBS canola oil
1/2 lbs bulk Italian Sausage
1 Large onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced -crushed works just as well
2 1-1/2 cups water
1 can (16 oz) chili beans, undrained
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can 14.5 oz beef broth – I use Better Than Bullion
1 package (12 oz) pitted dried plums, chopped
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Cayanne Pepper
1 tsp White pepper

1 tsp dry red pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

  • Cube the roast into about 1/2 inch cubes. It is easier to cut if it is in a semi-frozen state. Any large chunks of fat, leave large, cut off from cubes and throw in the crock pot (you will pull them out later). Once all the roast is cubed, put it into the crock pot on low for a few hours, until meat is mostly done and fairly tender.
  • In Dutch over a pan, brown the beef in oil in batches. Remove large fat chunks from pot and discard. Remove and keep warm. Return to crock pot. Add the sausage and onion to the pan, adding juice from crock pot if needed; cook and stir over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Return the beef to the pan; While sausage is cooking, stir in the remaining ingredients to crock pot. Add cooked sausage/garlic/onion mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; Cover and simmer on low for 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until beef is tender slightly thickened and everything looks right.
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