In a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag, add flour, salt, pepper, and paprika; mix well. Coat chicken in this mixture in the bag, one piece at a time. Heat the shortening or vegetable oil in skillet until hot. Add chicken to hot oil and brown well on all sides. Remove browned chicken to Dutch oven. Drain fat from the skillet and reserve 3 Tbsp. for gravy.
Add water to chicken in Dutch oven just to cover the chicken. Cover pan and cook on low heat for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, add water as necessary and stir occasionally.
Remove chicken to platter; keep warm in oven. Drain liquid from pan and reserve liquid for gravy.
Heat the reserved fat drippings in the pan. Blend in the flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly, remove from heat. Add enough milk to the reserved liquid to equal 3 C.; gradually stir into flour mixture in pan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Return chicken to the gravy in the pan. Continue to cook on low heat while making dumplings.
Cut shortening into flour, baking powder, salt, and sage (if adding) until mixture resembles fine crumbs. stir in milk. Drop dough by tablespoon onto hot chicken in the pan (try not to drop directly into liquid). Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, or until dumplings are no longer shiny. Cover pan and cook for an additional 10 minutes.