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Cheesy Corn Chowder

['6 bacon slices, finely chopped', '1 large sweet onion, finely chopped', '3 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice', '3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice', '1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice', '3/4 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice', '3/4 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice', '4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth', '4 cups water', '3 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 ears) or 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) frozen corn kernels (not thawed)', '2 cups heavy cream', '8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (3 cups)', '1 1/2 teaspoons salt', '1 teaspoon black pepper', '1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil or parsley', 'Finely chopped fresh chives or scallions (optional)', 'Paprika (optional)']

Cook bacon in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a small bowl.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper to pot and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, broth, and water, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Add corn and cream and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Remove pot from heat, then stir in cheese until melted. Season soup with salt and pepper and stir in bacon and basil. Garnish with fresh chives, scallions, or paprika (if desired).

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