Natureland County Park, near Whitewater, Wisconsin
My husband gathers watercress from the spring fed stream
After cleaning the watercress, he adds it to potato soup, and blends it for a St. Patrick's Day treat.
It has been ages since we had such a warm and sunny day on March 17th. Today the sun shone and the temperature was in the upper 60s, a day when the snow is retreating fast, and the ground is soft and wet. In the early 1970s, when we were undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, there was a day like this, a day to shed jackets and get outside. My then boyfriend and I cut classes and took off to a county park I knew well from 4-H activities - there may have been green beer that day as well (though not at the park). In 1975 we were married there under the trees, near the springs and lake. Today the water was running freely and there were bright green clumps of watercress for the taking.
He says he doesn't have a recipe for the soup, but here is how he says to make it.
Potato Watercress Soup
a cup or so of fresh cleaned watercress, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 or two cloves of fresh garlic, minced
a can of chicken broth
a can of cream of potato soup, plus a can of milk
Saute the onion and garlic in butter or olive oil, then set aside. Mix together the butter and flour and make a roux, then stir in the chicken broth and the sauted garlic and onion. Cook until it starts to thicken. Stir in a can of condensed cream of potato soup and a can of milk, and at the end add the watercress. In small batches, whirl the soup in a blender until smooth, then return to the pan and heat through.
He says you can adjust it any way you like, with more or less chicken broth or milk. You probably could just make the cream of potato soup and then add the watercress, but I doubt it would taste as fresh and good as this soup tasted to me.