Hearty Cheese Soup

5 Tbsp. Butter or margarine
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup cooked ham or bacon, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
Ground black pepper

6 Sourdough bread bowls

In a large, heavy stockpot, melt butter or margarine.
Add chopped vegetables and ham or bacon and cook over medium heat until vegetables are slightly tender-- about 10 minutes.
Stir in flour and cornstarch.
Cook, stirring constantly, about three minutes.
Add broth and continue stirring until slightly thickened.
Add milk and spices.
Add cheese gradually, stirring until cheese is melted.  (To avoid curdling, do not allow soup to boil after cheese is added).
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve piping hot in a hollowed sourdough bread bowls.