Heat oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed pot and gently cook onions and garlic with caster sugar until golden.
Add brandy and reduce a little.
Then add stock, thyme and seasonings. Stir and gently cook for about 15 mins until fragrant, stirring now and again. Taste for seasoning.
When soup is ready, toast or grill the sourdough.
To serve, place bread in individual flat soup bowls, ladle soup over the top and sprinkle with gruyere and parsley.
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