These smoky braised-lamb tamales, favorite at event producer Paola Briseño González's holiday tamale parties, get a pop of freshness from bright cilantro-onion relish, while a wrapper of banana leaves perfumes the masa with a softly sweet aroma as they steam. The banana leaf wrappers also yield tamales with a dense, custard-like texture. The rich, slow-cooked flavor of lamb shanks is the perfect partner for the intense smokiness of morita chiles; substitute chipotles in a pinch.
Lamb mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cooked tamales can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Steam to reheat, or remove husks and sear in a lightly oiled pan until crispy on the outside.
Banana leaves can be found in the freezer section of Latin and Asian markets.