This is one of the cheapest meals on earth. Theoretically, you could make it with tap water, a 50¢ ham hock, and a 79¢ sack of split peas. We’ll fancy ours up just a tad, without adding much to the total cost. You’ll need the following additional items: two carrots, two celery stalks, an onion, a clove of garlic, two bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
Boil two and a half quarts of water in a big pot. Add your ham hock and one cup of split peas. (I used this recipe, but I’m modifying it slightly, so stick with me and we’ll get through this thing together.) If you are an experienced cook or “chef,” prepare a mirepoix and set it aside. Otherwise, roughly chop the carrots, celery, and half the onion, and set them aside in a bowl. It doesn’t need to look pretty, because the finished product will look like something Satan puked up.
When the peas are pretty soft, add a clove of crushed garlic to the boiling water. When they’re really soft, like pitchfork tender, add your vegetables, bay leaves, and quite a lot of salt and pepper. The recipe linked above indicated that this mess will need to boil for over and hour, but mine cooked down very rapidly. Pay attention! The ham hock should be shifted once in a while to keep it from fusing to the bottom of your pot. And you will need to add more water. Otherwise, your soup will end up too thick to spew out of your mouth at the nearest troublesome priest. Bon appétit, and see you in hell!