While a few additional steps are needed for this soup, the results are well worth it. Roasted tomatoes and garlic, a spicy chile purée, and a tender braised chicken make this tortilla soup the perfect way to start a meal.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Place the tomatoes and garlic cloves (with skin on) on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Roast for 20 minutes until the skins are slightly charred and blistered. Remove and allow to cool. Meanwhile, stem and seed the chiles. In a pan set over medium-high heat, press the chiles one at a time, on both sides, so they are slightly charred in spots and fragrant. Place the chiles in a bowl with hot water and soak for 20 minutes.
Peel the blistered skin off the tomatoes and slip garlic from its skin. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and onions and sweet the onions until transluscent.
In a blender, purée the chilies, tomatoes, and garlic together; strain through a chinoise or fine-mesh strainger. Add to the sweated onions and alow to cook together for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken stock and allow all to come to a strong simmer. Add in the cumin and tortillas. Taste for salt and add if desired. Drop in the whole chicken and bring back to a simmer. Add the diced carrot, celery, and bay leaf, season with salt. Allow to cook for 45 minutes at a slow simmer, skimming frequently, until the chicken is cooked through. When the chicken is done, remove it and allow it to cool. Shred the chicken meat and add back into the soup. Serve.