Recently, I challenged my friend and local chef Scott McGehee to a chili cook-off at his Lost 40 brewery and restaurant in Little Rock. On voting day, we invited our friends to be taste testers and deciders.

The day was full of beer and friends and food. What more could you ask for? Chef McGehee’s fall chili pairs carrots and winter squash with chipotle for a sweet heat that builds with each bite. By contrast, my hearty winter chili recipe has a Tex-Mex flair with fresh lime, cumin and poblano peppers. Both are delightful!

You can see my Winter Chili recipe here, and then vote for yourself!

  • Serves: 6


  • 3 ounces (half a small can) tomato paste
  • 2 cups medium peeled, and roasted butternut squash (or similar winter squash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped (one single pepper, not a whole can!) (or more to taste for spicier chili)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 1 cup diced green chilies
  • 1 (16 oz) can canned cannellini (or similar) beans, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (28 oz) can canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 (12 oz) can Lost 40 Love Honey Bock (or similar) beer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound freshly ground turkey (could sub ground beef or pork for a richer flavor)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute, stirring often, onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper (for about 5-7 min until softened and cooked through). Place turkey in the pot with cooked onion mixture and cook until broken up and evenly browned (about 2-4 min).
  2. Pour water and beer into the pot and bring to a boil for 2-4 min. Mix in tomatoes, tomato paste, white beans, green chilies, chili powder, paprika, oregano, chipotle, cumin, cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30-45 minutes. Add more water if its too thick. Mix in roasted squash amd simmer another 5 min. Add more salt to taste.
  3. Excellent served with fried sage and/or sour cream.