Commercially produced Grits are coarsely ground hominy (corn, treated with lye). Corn masa is similar, but more finely ground. Traditional grits are stone-ground maize (corn) that has been sifted to isolate the middle-sized granules, coarser than the product used in baking as corn meal.
The basic recipe for preparing quick-cooking hominy grits:
4 cups boiling water, 1 cup grits, 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, black pepper to taste, (butter or margarine), (grated cheddar cheese),
4 - 6 servings.
Bring the water to a boil in a 1 - 2 quart saucepan. Add the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until until grits begin to thicken. Cover and continue to cook on low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking. Stir in a small amount of water if the grits become too thick. Correct the seasoning before serving, adding black pepper to taste. Serve with a pat of margarine, butter, or grated cheese on top.
The recipe above may be used to prepare stone-ground grits, but cooking time must be increased to at least 25 minutes. Some cooks prefer a longer cooking time--approximately 45 to 50 minutes. If the grits become too thick or begin to stick, stir in 1/8 - 1/4 cup boiling water. Many Southerners prefer to substitute milk for 1 or 2 cups of the water, especially if the grits are to be served as part of a main dish, such as shrimp and grits.
Note: This recipe will work for smaller quantities of grits, using a 4:1 ratio of water to grits.