1Remove the neck and giblets, save in the freezer for another use or discard as desired. Wash chicken inside and out thoroughly. Dry thoroughly with paper towels, inside and out.
Heat the oil over medium heat a large cooking pot and brown whole chicken until golden brown.
Add enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam and fat that accumulates on the surface.
Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, salt, pepper and bay leaf; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until chicken is tender.
2Remove chicken from broth; cool slightly and remove the meat from bones, discarding bones and skin. Shred chicken into bite-sized chunks and return to pot. Add the chicken base and noodles to the pot of broth and vegetables; reheat just to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro leaves and lime juice.
3To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream and pass the lime wedges and tortillas for accompaniment, as desired.
Makes 8 servings.