Place chicken in a large pot with enough water to cover it, about 9-10 cups. Add remaining indredients for the soup. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer partially covered for 1 hour, until chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken. Once cool, shred the chicken. Add the chicken back to the pot.**
To make dumplings, combine flour and seasoning in a bowl. Cut/add in shortening and bacon drippings, if adding, with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until there are no large chunks. Add milk and stir with a spatula. Feel free to add more milk if not all the flour is incoporated. Put dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll dough to ⅛-inch thickness and cut into about 1-inch long slices. The shape and size doesn't have to be perfect and universal.
Turn the soup to a slight boil and add in dumplings a few at a time. They will grow in the water, so if a dumpling is too big, just cut it in half. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
If the soup is too thick, add more water or chicken stock. If it's too thin, combine 3 T of cornstarch with ¼ cup water or chicken stock, and once mixed, add to the pot. Season as needed with salt and pepper to taste.