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Bacon and Vegetable Soup with Barley

1 kg Bacon bones
1 Bay leaf
1 Sprig fresh thyme
1 Sprig fresh parsley
4 Black peppercorns
1 tb Oil
1 md (about 150g) onion, chopped
2 md (about 240g) carrots, chopped
2 Sticks celery, chopped
2 l (8 cups) water
1/3 c Pearl barley

Add bacon bones to large pan of cold water; bring to boil, strain bacon bones, rinse bones under cold water; pat dry with paper towel.

Tie bay leaf, herbs and peppercorns in small piece of muslin. Heat oil in pan, add bacon bones, cook until well browned, Add muslin bag, onion, carrots, celery and water, simmer, covered, 2 hours. Remove bacon bones from soup, remove meat from bones; chop meat, discard bones. Return meat to soup, bring soup to boil, add barley, simmer, uncovered, about 40 mins or until barley is tender. Discard muslin bag; cool soup. Cover soup, refrigerate overnight. Skim fat from soup before reheating.

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