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1. In a large saucepan, combine chicken, water, bay leaf, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 clove garlic, and dash black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170 degrees F). Drain, reserving 2 cups broth. Strain broth through a double thickness of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Chop chicken. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, tomatillos (if desired), and 1 clove garlic; cook until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in pimiento, green chile peppers, and jalapeno chile peppers. Set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium heat. Cook tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil until crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
4. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and dash black pepper. Gradually stir in the reserved 2 cups broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream.
5. In an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish, arrange six of the tortillas, overlapping slightly. Top with half of the chicken, half of the onion mixture, half of the sour cream mixture, and half of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas, chicken, onion mixture, sour cream mixture, and cheese.
6. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with pico de gallo or salsa, if desired. Makes 12 servings.