Our man scoffs deep-fried turkey & ham with all the trimmings
For years I’ve been promising myself I’ll cut down on stuffing my face at Christmas but I just can’t quit cold turkey.
I also can’t quit hot turkey, ham or stuffing and so when I heard there was a chippy serving up battered Christmas Dinners I just had to give it a gobble.
Getting battered at Christmas usually involves 10 pints of lager and a snooze on the sofa for me but on this occasion it was to be a deep-fried turkey dinner instead.
I flew down to The Railway Fryer in Old Mossley, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, to try out their fried festive fayre which was all that and hen some.
I was greeted by owner Willy Carson (47) who showed me around his chip shop which sits opposite Mossley West train station and enjoys a good reputation in the surrounding area.
I watched as he dunked a hunk of turkey dinner, dripping with batter, into the bubbling deep-fat fryer and wondered just how clogged my arteries would be after eating this thing.
However, Willy reassured me it wouldn’t be greasy due to a high-tech frying device called a Frylow which he uses to ensure a crispy batter without the pools of oil which normally come with it.
He lay the steaming golden boulder on top of chips, sausages and brussels sprouts before pouring over his special gravy and I couldn’t wait to dig in.
Willy was right about the batter, it was crispy and delicious while light and virtually oil free.
Although slightly difficult to handle and get your mouth around it was worth the effort as both the meats inside, turkey and ham, were perfectly cooked and came with plentiful helpings of hot stuffing. Not content with just deep-frying the turkey dinner, Willy and wife Caroline (47) also serve them as a Christmas Chip for hungry festive punters.
Although pretty stuffed from the first dish I had to give the Christmas Chip a peck, seeing as I had travelled all that way.
While tasty and an interesting festive option at the chip shop, it doesn’t come close to its deep-fried cousin.
Watching on as I stuffed my face Willy told me he decided to take over the Railway Fryer with his wife as he recovered from cancer in 2018.
Willy underwent aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions to treat the illness and as he lay in hospital, he called a bemused Caroline and told her he was buying The Railway Fryer.
After taking over the much-loved local chippy he started a yearly tradition of taking turkey dinners to the elderly and infirm living nearby.
Shortly afterwards his teenage daughter Katie-Lee pondered what a turkey dinner would be like deep-fried and Willy had an epiphany.
He said: “It was actually my wee girl’s idea, she loves turkey and ham and said to me one day, ‘Dad I wonder what it would be like if you battered that there?’
“It was a wee light-bulb moment and sparked the idea and that’s been us ever since, we actually do them sliced up over the chip now as well.
“They’re pretty popular, we had people coming and asking for them, people love it, in fact come November I’d have customers on the phone asking when they’re starting.
“We have regulars who love them, one guy in particular would have maybe three or four a week, he must do a lot of training because there’s not a pick of fat on him.
“Me and the wife started making a few wee turkey dinners three years ago and people just loved it.
“It’s a wee chip shop twist on traditional Christmas dinners and people really enjoy it. We have our own special turkey gravy which goes down well too.
“We’ll be going right up until the day before Christmas Eve if people want to try it, you get it with all the trimmings for £8.50 and it’s a good feed.”