This is a long-time family favorite. It does take a while to cook (not prepare), but it tastes amazing and completely worth the wait. I am asked to make it for other family members as well. Please enjoy our favorite comfort food!
Add water, chicken, 1t of salt, onion, celery, garlic, and parsley to stock pot.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook the chicken, UNCOVERED, for 2 hours. The liquid will reduce about 1/3rd.
Place a colander in a large sauce pan and strain the chicken & broth. Remove the chicken from the colander, placing it on a plate and discard the cooked onions/celery.
Add pepper, remaining salt, and lemon juice to the chicken stock. Reheat the stock over medium heat while preparing the dumplings.
FOR DUMPLINGS: combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then add milk.
Stir until smooth then let dough rest 5-10 minutes.
Roll the rested dough onto a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thickness.
Cut the dough into 1 inch squares (I use a rolling pizza cutter for speed and accuracy) Drop in one by one into the simmering stock. USE ALL OF THE DOUGH. It will seem crowded. The dumplings will first swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock into a gravy.
Simmer for 20 minutes until thick. Stir OFTEN.
While the stock is simmering, the chicken will have become cool enough for handling. Tear the meat from the skin and bones. Cut the meat into bite size pieces (I tear it, for presentation purposes, and who else wants to dirty another knife?) Add chicken to the stock. Discard skin/bones.
When the gravy has reached desired consistency, ladle portions onto plates and serve hot. (We ladle it over extra wide egg noodles or mashed potatoes) and serve with your choice of vegetables.