Custom field in Lightning Component expression replaced with "unknown_custom_field" in some production orgs
Salesforce has confirmed this is an issue with the Lightning framework but will not be creating a known issue at this time. Here is the description of the issue and the workaround as given to us by their R&D team:
The framework caches component definitions and other metadata information at the organization level to improve component load times. However, when there is a large volume of transactions on an organization's instance, this cache can drop important information about a component. This then causes the component to load incorrectly (in this case it doesn't have the important field metadata so it says "unknown_custom_field" in place of the actual field api name). The only way to fix the component at this point is to change the markup and re-deploy the component so that the cache sees that the component definition has changed and is rebuilt. This can be done by adding a comment with a timestamp to the component.
As a managed package provider this is incredibly inconvenient as it requires us to issue patch releases for specific customers to simply change a comment and force a cache rebuild in their org. If someone from Salesforce sees this we would really appreciate a known issue to point our customers to.