In a medium-sized stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon slowly until slightly brown, or about 5 minutes. Remove cooked bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
Melt butter with the bacon grease in the stockpot/Dutch oven.
Add the chopped carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add the flour and stir until thoroughly mixed. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add Cooper® cheese to the flour mixture and stir until melted.
Add chicken stock, then add cauliflower. Increase heat to medium-high for a quick simmer to cook the cauliflower.
Once the cauliflower is cooked through, add whole milk and stir until mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If desired, stir in some of the chopped bacon. Otherwise, reserve bacon for garnish.
Remove chowder from heat and serve nice and hot. Garnish each bowl of Cauliflower Chowder with the remaining smoked bacon crumbles.
And if you want to really take this dish over the top, cap each serving off with a couple Cooper® Cheese Garlic Croutons. And maybe even a little more Cooper® cheese.
*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.