Ingredients

5 tablespoons margarine
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a large heavy kettle, melt butter or margarine. Add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and ham; cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.

Stir in flour and cornstarch; cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add broth and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened. Add milk, paprika, cayenne, and mustard.

Stir in 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.