These savory mashed sweet potatoes incorporate flavors of smoked paprika, cayenne and orange zest for a colorful twist on a classic side dish. You can use regular paprika instead of smoked, and can omit the cayenne for a less spicy version.
Combine sweet potatoes, milk, butter, garlic, and thyme sprigs in a large pot. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are very soft, 30 to 45 minutes.
Let cool slightly. Discard the thyme sprigs and transfer the sweet potato mixture to a food processor. Add minced thyme, paprika, salt, zest, and cayenne. Blend until smooth. Stir in scallions.
To make ahead: Peel and cube sweet potatoes; refrigerate for up to 2 days.