For the dumplings: In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Then cut in the shortening and use your fingers to combine all the ingredients. The dough should look like coarse sand. Slowly add the ice water and use your hands to incorporate the moisture into the dough. It will be a bit shaggy. (I had to add an extra teaspoon of water just to combine all of the dry ingredients into the dough. If you have to do this, that is fine.) Wrap the dough in Saran wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Once the dough has been chilled, turn onto a lightly flour surface and roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thick and ½ inch wide. Set dumplings aside.
For the soup: In a large pot, melt the butter and stir in the veggies. Stir frequently and allow them to soften. Continue to cook until tender.
Stir in thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Then add the flour to evenly coat the veggies. One cup at a time, pour in the broth and stir. Doing this 1 cup at a time will eliminate clumps of flour from forming. Once all of the broth is added, add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Allow the stew to simmer on medium heat while stirring for about 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the chicken substitute and slowly add the dumplings one at a time. I didn’t use all the dough for the dumplings. I guess it just depends on how many dumplings you want in your stew. Use your own judgment.
Once your dumplings are added, reduce the heat to low and allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes while stirring periodically. Taste your food to make sure it is seasoned according to taste. Make sure that the dumplings aren’t gummy inside before serving.