Cauliflower Parmesan Soup (No Cream) - Smooth and silky, without cream!
In a large heavy based saucepan/dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat & fry the leeks for 2-3 mins, or until soft.
Once leeks are soft, add garlic & stir for 30 secs, then stir through milk. Add cauliflower & potatoes then bring to a simmer.
Simmer, partially covered for 15-18 mins, or until cauliflower & potatoes are tender. Remove from heat.
Using an immersion/stick blender, blend soup until smooth (see notes) and check for seasoning.
Divide soup between serving bowls, top with fresh thyme and drizzle with olive oil if using, and serve with fresh parmesan on the side for each guest to add as they wish (see notes).
Chopping the cauliflower - I don't use the very center stem, and everything else I just chop into florets - breaking down the large ones as you go.
Once you put the milk in, you may find that it doesn't quite cover the cauliflower/potato. (At least I did!) As long as the cauliflower/potato is mostly covered, it should all still cook because we are going to partially cover the pot while it cooks. This stops the soup from cooking down too much, and also steams those small bits of cauliflower sticking out of the milk. I would also give it a bit of a stir once or twice during cooking just to get them all mixed around.
Make sure you take the pan off the heat before you blend the soup. This helps it not splatter everywhere - still you need to be a bit careful when you blend it. Once it is blended you could add a bit more milk if you want a slightly thinner consistency, just put it back on the stove to heat through.
My final note is about the parmesan. Well! It's up to you how much you use, but my recommendation is "a lot!" Even though it looks like a garnish in the photos, my suggestion is sprinkling it over your soup as you eat a few spoonfulls, then sprinkle some more - I think you get the idea - I don't really see it as a garnish. I mean for it be an essential part of the dish, but I don't want to add it during the cooking process for a few reasons. I like the consistency of the soup as it is, but I want the flavour of the parmesan, and this way diners can choose their own amount.