Automatic speech recognition has gradually improved over the years, but the reliable recognition of unconstrained speech is still not within reach. In order to achieve a breakthrough, many research groups are now investigating new methodologies that have potential to outperform the Hidden Markov Model technology that is at the core of all present commercial systems. In this paper, it is shown that the recently introduced concept of Reservoir Computing might form the basis of such a methodology. In a limited amount of time, a reservoir system that can recognize the elementary sounds of continuous speech has been built. The system already achieves a state-of-the-art performance, and there is evidence that the margin for further improvements is still significant.